02 Nov 2022
 | 02 Nov 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Investigating an indirect aviation effect on mid-latitude cirrus clouds – linking lidar derived optical properties to in-situ measurements

Silke Groß, Tina Jurkat-Witschas, Qiang Li, Martin Wirth, Benedikt Urbanek, Martina Krämer, Ralf Weigel, and Christiane Voigt

Abstract. Aviation has a large impact on the Earth’s atmosphere and climate by various processes. Line shaped contrails and contrail cirrus clouds lead to changes in the natural cirrus cloud cover, and have a major contribution to the effective radiative forcing from aviation. In addition, aviation emitted aerosols may also change the microphysical properties and, in particular, the optical properties of naturally formed cirrus clouds. Latter aerosol-cloud interactions show large differences in the estimated resulting effective radiative forcing and our understanding on how aviation induced aerosols affect cirrus cloud properties is still poor. Up to now, observations of this aviation induced aerosol effect are rare. In this study, we use combined airborne lidar and in-situ ice cloud measurements to investigate differences in the microphysical and optical properties of naturally formed cirrus clouds, which either formed under influences of aviation induced aerosol emissions or which formed under rather pristine conditions. We relate collocated lidar measurements performed aboard HALO during the ML-CIRRUS mission of the particle linear depolarization ratio with in-situ cloud probe measurements of the number and effective diameter of the ice particles. We find that those clouds, which are more affected by aviation induced aerosol emission, are characterized by larger values of the particle linear depolarization ratio. These aviation-affected cirrus clouds exhibit larger mean effective ice particle diameters connected to decreased ice particle number concentrations, than the cirrus clouds, which evolved in more pristine regions. With this study, we provide new observations of aerosol-cloud interactions, that will help to quantify related changes in the atmospheric energy budget.

Silke Groß et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-721', Anonymous Referee #1, 14 Nov 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2022-721', Anonymous Referee #2, 30 Nov 2022

Silke Groß et al.

Silke Groß et al.


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Short summary
Aviation emitted aerosol can have an impact on cirrus clouds. We present optical and microphysical properties of mid-latitude cirrus clouds which were formed either under the influence of aviation emitted aerosol or which were formed under rather pristine conditions. We find that cirrus clouds affected by aviation emitted aerosol show larger values of the particle linear depolarization ratio, larger mean effective ice particle diameters and decreased ice particle number concentrations.