Investigation of aerosol-cloud interactions using a chemical transport model constrained by satellite observations

Feng, Y, Ramanathan V.  2010.  Investigation of aerosol-cloud interactions using a chemical transport model constrained by satellite observations. Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology. 62:69-86.

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activation, climate, liquid water clouds, microphysics, optical-properties, parameterization, radiation budget experiment, size distributions, stratiform clouds, stratocumulus clouds


This study simulates optical depth of marine warm clouds for year 2001 based on interactively predicted aerosol concentrations with a global chemical transport model (CTM) driven by the ERA-40 re-analysis meteorological data. The simulated aerosol and cloud droplet number concentrations (CDNC) largely reproduce the variations between polluted and pristine marine environment as revealed by surface and aircraft measurements. By constraining cloud liquid water path (CLWP) with satellite microwave measurements, the simulated global and southern hemispheric aerosol optical depth (AOD) and cloud optical depth (COD) are well within 10% of the observed values. As a result of larger anthropogenic aerosol loadings over the northern oceans, the simulated CDNC and COD are, respectively, by 51 and 18% higher than those over the southern oceans, while the column-averaged droplet effective radius is 13% smaller. These simulated interhemispheric differences, while qualitatively consistent with satellite observations, are larger than the observations. Inclusion of drizzle effect improved the disparities but not entirely. The constrained CTM generally captures the seasonality in AOD and CLWP observations, and demonstrates that annual cycle of COD is dominated by CLWP. During winter monsoon the simulated and observed COD correlate more strongly with changes in AOD over the N. Indian Ocean.