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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  24 Aug 2020

24 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Aerosol impacts on warm-cloud microphysics and drizzle in a moderately polluted environment

Ying-Chieh Chen1, Sheng-Hsiang Wang1,2, Qilong Min3, Sarah Lu3,a, Pay-Liam Lin1, Neng-Huei Lin1,2, Kao-Shan Chung1, and Everette Joseph3,b Ying-Chieh Chen et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Central University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • 2Center for Environmental Monitoring and Technology, National Central University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • 3Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York, University at Albany, Albany, NY
  • aalso at: Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation, Boulder, CO
  • bnow at: National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

Abstract. Climate is critically affected by aerosols, which can alter cloud lifecycles and precipitation distribution through radiative and microphysical effects. In this study, aerosol and cloud properties datasets from MODIS onboard Aqua satellite and surface observations, including aerosol concentrations, raindrop size distribution, and meteorological parameters, were used to statistically quantify the effects of aerosols on low-level warm cloud microphysics and drizzle over northern Taiwan during fall seasons (from October 15 to November 30 of 2005–2017). Results indicated that clouds in northwestern Taiwan, which with active human activity is dominated by low-level clouds (e.g. warm, thin, and broken clouds). The observed effects of aerosols on warm clouds indicated aerosol indirect effects; increasing aerosol loading caused a decrease in cloud effective radius (CER), an increase in cloud optical thickness, an increase in cloud fraction, and a decrease in cloud top temperature under a fixed cloud water path. A quantitative value of aerosol–cloud interactions (ACI = (δ ln⁡ CER)/(δ  ln⁡ α), changes in CER depend on changes in aerosols) were calculated to be 0.07 for our research domain. ACI values varied between 0.09 and 0.06 in surrounding clean and heavily polluted areas, respectively, which indicated that aerosol indirect effects were more sensitive in the clean area. Analysis of raindrop size distribution observations during high aerosol loading resulted in a decreased frequency of drizzle events, redistributed cloud water to more numerous and smaller droplets, and reduced collision–coalescence rates. However, in the scenario of light precipitation (≤ 1 mm h−1), high aerosol concentrations drive raindrops towards smaller droplet sizes and increase the appearance of drizzle drops. This study used long-term surface and satellite data to determine aerosol variations in northern Taiwan, effects on the clouds and precipitations, and applications to observational strategy planning for future research on aerosol–cloud–precipitation interactions.

Ying-Chieh Chen et al.

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Ying-Chieh Chen et al.

Ying-Chieh Chen et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
In this study, we integrate the satellite and surface observations to statistically quantify aerosol impacts on low-level warm cloud microphysics and drizzle over northern Taiwan. Our result provides observational evidence for aerosol indirect effects. The frequency of drizzle is reduced under polluted conditions. For light precipitation events (≤ 1 mm h−1), however, higher aerosol concentrations drive raindrops toward smaller sizes and thus increases the appearance of the drizzle drops.
In this study, we integrate the satellite and surface observations to statistically quantify...