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An assessment of aerosol‐cloud interactions in marine stratus clouds based on surface remote sensing

By Allison McComiskey, Graham Feingold, A. Shelby Frisch, David D. Turner, Mark A. Miller, J. Christine Chiu, Qilong Min and John A. Ogren


An assessment of aerosol-cloud interactions (ACI) from ground-based remote sensing under coastal stratiform clouds is presented. The assessment utilizes a long-term, high temporal resolution data set from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program deployment at Pt. Reyes, California, United States, in 2005 to provide statistically robust measures of ACI and to characterize the variability of the measures based on variability in environmental conditions and observational approaches. The average ACIN (= dlnNd/dlna, the change in cloud drop number concentration with aerosol concentration) is 0.48, within a physically plausible range of 0–1.0. Values vary between 0.18 and 0.69 with dependence on (1) the assumption of constant cloud liquid water path (LWP), (2) the relative value of cloud LWP, (3) methods for retrieving Nd, (4) aerosol size distribution, (5) updraft velocity, and (6) the scale and resolution of observations. The sensitivity of the local, diurnally averaged radiative forcing to this variability in ACIN values, assuming an aerosol perturbation of 500 c-3 relative to a background concentration of 100 cm-3, ranges betwee-4 and -9 W -2. Further characterization of ACI and its variability is required to reduce uncertainties in global radiative forcing estimates

Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Year: 2009
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