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Sanchez, KJ, Roberts GC, Calmer R, Nicoll K, Hashimshoni E, Rosenfeld D, Ovadnevaite J, Preissler J, Ceburnis D, O'Dowd C, Russell LM.  2017.  Top-down and bottom-up aerosol-cloud closure: towards understanding sources of uncertainty in deriving cloud shortwave radiative flux. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 17:9797-9814.   10.5194/acp-17-9797-2017   AbstractWebsite

Top-down and bottom-up aerosol-cloud shortwave radiative flux closures were conducted at the Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station in Galway, Ireland, in August 2015. This study is part of the BACCHUS (Impact of Biogenic versus Anthropogenic emissions on Clouds and Climate: towards a Holistic UnderStanding) European collaborative project, with the goal of understanding key processes affecting aerosol-cloud shortwave radiative flux closures to improve future climate predictions and develop sustainable policies for Europe. Instrument platforms include ground-based unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)(1) and satellite measurements of aerosols, clouds and meteorological variables. The ground-based and airborne measurements of aerosol size distributions and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentration were used to initiate a 1-D microphysical aerosol-cloud parcel model (ACPM). UAVs were equipped for a specific science mission, with an optical particle counter for aerosol distribution profiles, a cloud sensor to measure cloud extinction or a five-hole probe for 3D wind vectors. UAV cloud measurements are rare and have only become possible in recent years through the miniaturization of instrumentation. These are the first UAV measurements at Mace Head. ACPM simulations are compared to in situ cloud extinction measurements from UAVs to quantify closure in terms of cloud shortwave radiative flux. Two out of seven cases exhibit sub-adiabatic vertical temperature profiles within the cloud, which suggests that entrainment processes affect cloud microphysical properties and lead to an overestimate of simulated cloud shortwave radiative flux. Including an entrainment parameterization and explicitly calculating the entrainment fraction in the ACPM simulations both improved cloud-top radiative closure. Entrainment reduced the difference between simulated and observation-derived cloud-top shortwave radiative flux (delta RF) by between 25 and 60Wm(-2). After accounting for entrainment, satellite-derived cloud droplet number concentrations (CDNCs) were within 30% of simulated CDNC. In cases with a well-mixed boundary layer, delta RF is no greater than 20Wm(-2) after accounting for cloud-top entrainment and up to 50Wm(-2) when entrainment is not taken into account. In cases with a decoupled boundary layer, cloud microphysical properties are inconsistent with ground-based aerosol measurements, as expected, and delta RF is as high as 88Wm(-2), even high (> 30Wm(-2)) after accounting for cloud-top entrainment. This work demonstrates the need to take in situ measurements of aerosol properties for cases where the boundary layer is decoupled as well as consider cloud-top entrainment to accurately model stratocumulus cloud radiative flux.

Ovadnevaite, J, Zuend A, Laaksonen A, Sanchez KJ, Roberts G, Ceburnis D, Decesari S, Rinaldi M, Hodas N, Facchini MC, Seinfeld JH, Dowd CO.  2017.  Surface tension prevails over solute effect in organic-influenced cloud droplet activation. Nature. 546:637-641.   10.1038/nature22806   AbstractWebsite

The spontaneous growth of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) into cloud droplets under supersaturated water vapour conditions is described by classic Kohler theory(1,2). This spontaneous activation of CCN depends on the interplay between the Raoult effect, whereby activation potential increases with decreasing water activity or increasing solute concentration, and the Kelvin effect, whereby activation potential decreases with decreasing droplet size or increases with decreasing surface tension, which is sensitive to surfactants(1). Surface tension lowering caused by organic surfactants, which diminishes the Kelvin effect, is expected to be negated by a concomitant reduction in the Raoult effect, driven by the displacement of surfactant molecules from the droplet bulk to the droplet-vapour interface(3,4). Here we present observational and theoretical evidence illustrating that, in ambient air, surface tension lowering can prevail over the reduction in the Raoult effect, leading to substantial increases in cloud droplet concentrations. We suggest that consideration of liquid-liquid phase separation, leading to complete or partial engulfing of a hygroscopic particle core by a hydrophobic organic-rich phase, can explain the lack of concomitant reduction of the Raoult effect, while maintaining substantial lowering of surface tension, even for partial surface coverage. Apart from the importance of particle size and composition in droplet activation, we show by observation and modelling that incorporation of phase-separation effects into activation thermodynamics can lead to a CCN number concentration that is up to ten times what is predicted by climate models, changing the properties of clouds. An adequate representation of the CCN activation process is essential to the prediction of clouds in climate models, and given the effect of clouds on the Earth's energy balance, improved prediction of aerosol-cloud-climate interactions is likely to result in improved assessments of future climate change.

Modini, RL, Frossard AA, Ahlm L, Russell LM, Corrigan CE, Roberts GC, Hawkins LN, Schroder JC, Bertram AK, Zhao R, Lee AKY, Abbatt JPD, Lin J, Nenes A, Wang Z, Wonaschutz A, Sorooshian A, Noone KJ, Jonsson H, Seinfeld JH, Toom-Sauntry D, Macdonald AM, Leaitch WR.  2015.  Primary marine aerosol-cloud interactions off the coast of California. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 120:4282-4303.   10.1002/2014jd022963   AbstractWebsite

Primary marine aerosol (PMA)-cloud interactions off the coast of California were investigated using observations of marine aerosol, cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), and stratocumulus clouds during the Eastern Pacific Emitted Aerosol Cloud Experiment (E-PEACE) and the Stratocumulus Observations of Los-Angeles Emissions Derived Aerosol-Droplets (SOLEDAD) studies. Based on recently reported measurements of PMA size distributions, a constrained lognormal-mode-fitting procedure was devised to isolate PMA number size distributions from total aerosol size distributions and applied to E-PEACE measurements. During the 12 day E-PEACE cruise on the R/V Point Sur, PMA typically contributed less than 15% of total particle concentrations. PMA number concentrations averaged 12 cm(-3) during a relatively calmer period (average wind speed 12m/s(1)) lasting 8 days, and 71cm(-3) during a period of higher wind speeds (average 16m/s(1)) lasting 5 days. On average, PMA contributed less than 10% of total CCN at supersaturations up to 0.9% during the calmer period; however, during the higher wind speed period, PMA comprised 5-63% of CCN (average 16-28%) at supersaturations less than 0.3%. Sea salt was measured directly in the dried residuals of cloud droplets during the SOLEDAD study. The mass fractions of sea salt in the residuals averaged 12 to 24% during three cloud events. Comparing the marine stratocumulus clouds sampled in the two campaigns, measured peak supersaturations were 0.20.04% during E-PEACE and 0.05-0.1% during SOLEDAD. The available measurements show that cloud droplet number concentrations increased with >100 nm particles in E-PEACE but decreased in the three SOLEDAD cloud events.

Collins, DB, Ault AP, Moffet RC, Ruppel MJ, Cuadra-Rodriguez LA, Guasco TL, Corrigan CE, Pedler BE, Azam F, Aluwihare LI, Bertram TH, Roberts GC, Grassian VH, Prather KA.  2013.  Impact of marine biogeochemistry on the chemical mixing state and cloud forming ability of nascent sea spray aerosol. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 118:8553-8565.   10.1002/jgrd.50598   AbstractWebsite

The composition and properties of sea spray aerosol, a major component of the atmosphere, are often controlled by marine biological activity; however, the scope of impacts that ocean chemistry has on the ability for sea spray aerosol to act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) is not well understood. In this study, we utilize a mesocosm experiment to investigate the impact of marine biogeochemical processes on the composition and mixing state of sea spray aerosol particles with diameters<0.2 mu m produced by controlled breaking waves in a unique ocean-atmosphere facility. An increase in relative abundance of a distinct, insoluble organic particle type was observed after concentrations of heterotrophic bacteria increased in the seawater, leading to an 86 +/- 5% reduction in the hygroscopicity parameter () at 0.2% supersaturation. Aerosol size distributions showed very little change and the submicron organic mass fraction increased by less than 15% throughout the experiment; as such, neither of these typical metrics can explain the observed reduction in hygroscopicity. Predictions of the hygroscopicity parameter that make the common assumption that all particles have the same bulk organic volume fractions lead to overpredictions of CCN concentrations by 25% in these experiments. Importantly, key changes in sea spray aerosol mixing state that ultimately influenced CCN activity were driven by bacteria-mediated alterations to the organic composition of seawater.

Russell, LM, Sorooshian A, Seinfeld JH, Albrecht BA, Nenes A, Ahlm L, Chen YC, Coggon M, Craven JS, Flagan RC, Frossard AA, Jonsson H, Jung E, Lin JJ, Metcalf AR, Modini R, Mulmenstadt J, Roberts GC, Shingler T, Song S, Wang Z, Wonaschutz A.  2013.  Eastern Pacific emitted aerosol cloud experiment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 94:709-+.   10.1175/bams-d-12-00015.1   AbstractWebsite

Aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions are widely held to be the largest single source of uncertainty in climate model projections of future radiative forcing due to increasing anthropogenic emissions. The underlying causes of this uncertainty among modeled predictions of climate are the gaps in our fundamental understanding of cloud processes. There has been significant progress with both observations and models in addressing these important questions but quantifying them correctly is nontrivial, thus limiting our ability to represent them in global climate models. The Eastern Pacific Emitted Aerosol Cloud Experiment (E-PEACE) 2011 was a targeted aircraft campaign with embedded modeling studies, using the Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) Twin Otter aircraft and the research vessel Point Sur in July and August 2011 off the central coast of California, with a full payload of instruments to measure particle and cloud number, mass, composition, and water uptake distributions. E-PEACE used three emitted particle sources to separate particle-induced feedbacks from dynamical variability, namely 1) shipboard smoke-generated particles with 0.05-1-mu m diameters (which produced tracks measured by satellite and had drop composition characteristic of organic smoke), 2) combustion particles from container ships with 0.05-0.2-mu m diameters (which were measured in a variety of conditions with droplets containing both organic and sulfate components), and 3) aircraft-based milled salt particles with 3-5-mu m diameters (which showed enhanced drizzle rates in some clouds). The aircraft observations were consistent with past large-eddy simulations of deeper clouds in ship tracks and aerosol cloud parcel modeling of cloud drop number and composition, providing quantitative constraints on aerosol effects on warm-cloud microphysics.

Roberts, GC, Day DA, Russell LM, Dunlea EJ, Jimenez JL, Tomlinson JM, Collins DR, Shinozuka Y, Clarke AD.  2010.  Characterization of particle cloud droplet activity and composition in the free troposphere and the boundary layer during INTEX-B. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 10:6627-6644.   10.5194/acp-10-6627-2010   AbstractWebsite

Measurements of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), aerosol size distributions, and submicron aerosol composition were made as part of the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment Phase B (INTEX-B) campaign during spring 2006. Measurements were conducted from an aircraft platform over the northeastern Pacific and western North America with a focus on how the transport and evolution of Asian pollution across the Pacific Ocean affected CCN properties. A broad range of air masses were sampled and here we focus on three distinct air mass types defined geographically: the Pacific free troposphere (FT), the marine boundary layer (MBL), and the polluted continental boundary layer in the California Central Valley (CCV). These observations add to the few observations of CCN in the FT. CCN concentrations showed a large range of concentrations between air masses, however CCN activity was similar for the MBL and CCV (kappa similar to 0.2-0.25). FT air masses showed evidence of long-range transport from Asia and CCN activity was consistently higher than for the boundary layer air masses. Bulk chemical measurements predicted CCN activity reasonably well for the CCV and FT air masses. Decreasing trends in kappa with organic mass fraction were observed for the combination of the FT and CCV air masses and can be explained by the measured soluble inorganic chemical components. Changes in hygroscopicity associated with differences in the non-refractory organic composition were too small to be distinguished from the simultaneous changes in inorganic ion composition in the FT and MBL, although measurements for the large organic fractions (0.6-0.8) found in the CCV showed values of the organic fraction hygroscopicity consistent with other polluted regions (kappa(org)similar to 0.1-0.2). A comparison of CCN-derived kappa (for particles at the critical diameter) to H-TDMA-derived kappa (for particles at 100 nm diameter) showed similar trends, however the CCN-derived kappa values were significantly higher.

Conant, WC, VanReken TM, Rissman TA, Varutbangkul V, Jonsson HH, Nenes A, Jimenez JL, Delia AE, Bahreini R, Roberts GC, Flagan RC, Seinfeld JH.  2004.  Aerosol-cloud drop concentration closure in warm cumulus. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 109   10.1029/2003jd004324   AbstractWebsite

[1] Our understanding of the activation of aerosol particles into cloud drops during the formation of warm cumulus clouds presently has a limited observational foundation. Detailed observations of aerosol size and composition, cloud microphysics and dynamics, and atmospheric thermodynamic state were collected in a systematic study of 21 cumulus clouds by the Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) Twin Otter aircraft during NASA's Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers - Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL-FACE). An "aerosol-cloud'' closure study was carried out in which a detailed cloud activation parcel model, which predicts cloud drop concentration using observed aerosol concentration, size distribution, cloud updraft velocity, and thermodynamic state, is evaluated against observations. On average, measured droplet concentration in adiabatic cloud regions is within 15% of the predictions. This agreement is corroborated by independent measurements of aerosol activation carried out by two cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) counters on the aircraft. Variations in aerosol concentration, which ranged from 300 to 3300 cm(-3), drives large microphysical differences ( 250 2300 cm(-3)) observed among continental and maritime clouds in the South Florida region. This is the first known study in which a cloud parcel model is evaluated in a closure study using a constraining set of data collected from a single platform. Likewise, this is the first known study in which relationships among aerosol size distribution, CCN spectrum, and cloud droplet concentration are all found to be consistent with theory within experimental uncertainties much less than 50%. Vertical profiles of cloud microphysical properties ( effective radius, droplet concentration, dispersion) clearly demonstrate the boundary layer aerosol's effect on cloud microphysics throughout the lowest 1 km of cloud depth. Onboard measurements of aerosol hygroscopic growth and the organic to sulfate mass ratio are related to CCN properties. These chemical data are used to quantify the range of uncertainty associated with the simplified treatment of aerosol composition assumed in the closure study.

Williams, E, Rosenfeld D, Madden N, Gerlach J, Gears N, Atkinson L, Dunnemann N, Frostrom G, Antonio M, Biazon B, Camargo R, Franca H, Gomes A, Lima M, Machado R, Manhaes S, Nachtigall L, Piva H, Quintiliano W, Machado L, Artaxo P, Roberts G, Renno N, Blakeslee R, Bailey J, Boccippio D, Betts A, Wolff D, Roy B, Halverson J, Rickenbach T, Fuentes J, Avelino E.  2002.  Contrasting convective regimes over the Amazon: Implications for cloud electrification. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 107   10.1029/2001jd000380   AbstractWebsite

Four distinct meteorological regimes in the Amazon basin have been examined to distinguish the contributions from boundary layer aerosol and convective available potential energy (CAPE) to continental cloud structure and electrification. The lack of distinction in the electrical parameters (peak flash rate, lightning yield per unit rainfall) between aerosol-rich October and aerosol-poor November in the premonsoon regime casts doubt on a primary role for the aerosol in enhancing cloud electrification. Evidence for a substantial role for the aerosol in suppressing warm rain coalescence is identified in the most highly polluted period in early October. The electrical activity in this stage is qualitatively peculiar. During the easterly and westerly wind regimes of the wet season, the lightning yield per unit of rainfall is positively correlated with the aerosol concentration, but the electrical parameters are also correlated with CAPE, with a similar degree of scatter. Here cause and effect are difficult to establish with available observations. This ambiguity extends to the "green ocean" westerly regime, a distinctly maritime regime over a major continent with minimum aerosol concentration, minimum CAPE, and little if any lightning.