Publications

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2015
Xu, L, Pierce DW, Russell LM, Miller AJ, Somerville RCJ, Twohy CH, Ghan SJ, Singh B, Yoon J-H, Rasch PJ.  2015.  Interannual to decadal climate variability of sea salt aerosols in the coupled climate model CESM1.0. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. :2014JD022888.   10.1002/2014JD022888   AbstractWebsite

This study examines multi-year climate variability associated with sea salt aerosols and their contribution to the variability of shortwave cloud forcing (SWCF) using a 150-year simulation for pre-industrial conditions of the Community Earth System Model version 1.0 (CESM1). The results suggest that changes in sea salt and related cloud and radiative properties on interannual timescales are dominated by the ENSO cycle. Sea salt variability on longer (interdecadal) timescales is associated with low-frequency variability in the Pacific Ocean similar to the interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), but does not show a statistically significant spectral peak. A multivariate regression suggests that sea salt aerosol variability may contribute to SWCF variability in the tropical Pacific, explaining up to 20-30% of the variance in that region. Elsewhere, there is only a small sea salt aerosol influence on SWCF through modifying cloud droplet number and liquid water path that contributes to the change of cloud effective radius and cloud optical depth (and hence cloud albedo), producing a multi-year aerosol-cloud-wind interaction.

2014
Zhang, C, Wang M, Morrison H, Somerville RCJ, Zhang K, Liu X, Li J-LF.  2014.  Investigating ice nucleation in cirrus clouds with an aerosol-enabled Multiscale Modeling Framework. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. 6:998-1015.   10.1002/2014MS000343   Abstract

In this study, an aerosol-dependent ice nucleation scheme has been implemented in an aerosol-enabled Multiscale Modeling Framework (PNNL MMF) to study ice formation in upper troposphere cirrus clouds through both homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation. The MMF model represents cloud scale processes by embedding a cloud-resolving model (CRM) within each vertical column of a GCM grid. By explicitly linking ice nucleation to aerosol number concentration, CRM-scale temperature, relative humidity and vertical velocity, the new MMF model simulates the persistent high ice supersaturation and low ice number concentration (10–100/L) at cirrus temperatures. The new model simulates the observed shift of the ice supersaturation PDF toward higher values at low temperatures following the homogeneous nucleation threshold. The MMF model predicts a higher frequency of midlatitude supersaturation in the Southern Hemisphere and winter hemisphere, which is consistent with previous satellite and in situ observations. It is shown that compared to a conventional GCM, the MMF is a more powerful model to simulate parameters that evolve over short time scales such as supersaturation. Sensitivity tests suggest that the simulated global distribution of ice clouds is sensitive to the ice nucleation scheme and the distribution of sulfate and dust aerosols. Simulations are also performed to test empirical parameters related to auto-conversion of ice crystals to snow. Results show that with a value of 250 μm for the critical diameter, Dcs, that distinguishes ice crystals from snow, the model can produce good agreement with the satellite-retrieved products in terms of cloud ice water path and ice water content, while the total ice water is not sensitive to the specification of Dcs value.

DeFlorio, MJ, Ghan SJ, Singh B, Miller AJ, Cayan DR, Russell LM, Somerville RCJ.  2014.  Semidirect dynamical and radiative effect of North African dust transport on lower tropospheric clouds over the subtropical North Atlantic in CESM 1.0. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 119:2013JD020997.   10.1002/2013JD020997   AbstractWebsite

This study uses a century length preindustrial climate simulation by the Community Earth System Model (CESM 1.0) to explore statistical relationships between dust, clouds, and atmospheric circulation and to suggest a semidirect dynamical mechanism linking subtropical North Atlantic lower tropospheric cloud cover with North African dust transport. The length of the run allows us to account for interannual variability of North African dust emissions and transport in the model. CESM's monthly climatology of both aerosol optical depth and surface dust concentration at Cape Verde and Barbados, respectively, agree well with available observations, as does the aerosol size distribution at Cape Verde. In addition, CESM shows strong seasonal cycles of dust burden and lower tropospheric cloud fraction, with maximum values occurring during boreal summer, when a strong correlation between these two variables exists over the subtropical North Atlantic. Calculations of Estimated Inversion Strength (EIS) and composites of EIS on high and low downstream North African dust months during boreal summer reveal that dust is likely increasing inversion strength over this region due to both solar absorption and reflection. We find no evidence for a microphysical link between dust and lower tropospheric clouds in this region. These results yield new insight over an extensive period of time into the complex relationship between North African dust and North Atlantic lower tropospheric clouds, which has previously been hindered by spatiotemporal constraints of observations. Our findings lay a framework for future analyses using different climate models and submonthly data over regions with different underlying dynamics.