Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-88
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-88

  25 Mar 2021

25 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Measurement Report: Impact of African Aerosol Particles on Cloud Evolution in a Tropical Montane Cloud Forest in the Caribbean

Elvis Torres-Delgado1, Darrel Baumgardner2, and Olga L. Mayol-Bracero1 Elvis Torres-Delgado et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Science, University of 5 Puerto Rico, San Juan, 00925, Puerto Rico
  • 2Droplet Measurement Technologies, Longmont, CO, 80503, USA

Abstract. African aerosol particles, traveling thousands of kilometers before reaching the Americas and the Caribbean, directly scatter and absorb solar radiation and indirectly impact climate by serving as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) or ice nuclei (IN) that form clouds. These particles can also affect the water budget by altering precipitation patterns that subsequently affect ecosystems. As part of the NSF-funded Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory, field campaigns were conducted during the summers of 2013, 2014, and 2015 at Pico del Este, a site in a tropical montane cloud forest on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. Cloud microphysical properties, which included liquid water content, droplet number concentration, and droplet size, were measured. Using products from models and satellites, as well as in-situ measurements of aerosol optical properties, periods of high and low dust influence were identified. The results from this study suggest that meteorology and air mass history have a more important effect on cloud processes than aerosols transported from Africa. In contrast, air masses that arrived after passing over the inhabited islands to the southeast led to clouds with much higher droplet concentrations, presumably due to aerosols formed from anthropogenic emissions.

Elvis Torres-Delgado et al.

Status: open (until 20 May 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Elvis Torres-Delgado et al.

Elvis Torres-Delgado et al.

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Short summary
African dust aerosols can travel thousands of kilometers and reach the Caribbean and other places, where they can serve as ice and cloud condensation nuclei and alter precipitation patterns. Cloud microphysical properties (droplet number and size) were measured in a Caribbean tropical montane cloud forest along with models and satellite products. The results of the study suggest that meteorology and air mass history is more important for cloud processes than aerosols transported from Africa.
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