Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 27631-27672, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review Status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Cold and transition season cloud condensation nuclei measurements in western Colorado
D. S. Ward1 and W. R. Cotton2
1Earth and Atmospheric Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
2Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Abstract. Recent research has shown that orographic precipitation and the water resources that depend on it in the Colorado Rocky Mountains are sensitive to the variability of the region's aerosols, whether emitted locally or from distant sources. However, observations of cloud-active aerosols in western Colorado, climatologically upwind of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, have been limited to a few studies at a single, northern site. To address this knowledge gap, atmospheric aerosols were sampled at a ground site in southwestern Colorado and in low-level north to south transects of the Colorado Western Slope as part of the Inhibition of Snowfall by Pollution Aerosols (ISPA-III) field campaign. Total particle and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) number concentration were measured for a 24-day period in Mesa Verde National Park, climatologically upwind of the San Juan Mountains, in Sept. and Oct. 2009. Regression analysis showed a positive relationship between mid-troposphere atmospheric pressure to the west of the site and the total particle count at the ground site, but no similar statistically significant relationship for the observed CCN. These data were supplemented with particle and CCN number concentration, as well as particle size distribution measurements aboard the KingAir platform during December 2009. A CCN closure attempt was performed using the size distribution information and suggested that the sampled aerosol in general had low hygroscopicity that changed slightly with the large-scale wind direction. Together, the sampled aerosols from these field programs were characteristic of a rural continental environment with a cloud active portion that varied slowly in time, and little in space along the Western Slope.

Citation: Ward, D. S. and Cotton, W. R.: Cold and transition season cloud condensation nuclei measurements in western Colorado, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 27631-27672, doi:10.5194/acpd-10-27631-2010, 2010.
Search ACPD
Discussion Paper
    Final Revised Paper