A numerical study of aerosol influence on mixed-phase stratiform clouds through modulation of the liquid phase
1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, CO, USA
2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO, USA
3Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA
4University of Tokyo, Chiba, Japan
5The University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, WI, USA
Abstract. Numerical simulations were carried out in a high-resolution two dimensional framework to increase our understanding of aerosol indirect effects in mixed-phase stratiform clouds. Aerosol characteristics explored include insoluble particle type, soluble mass fraction, the influence of aerosol-induced freezing point depression and the influence of aerosol number concentration. These experiments were completed with an emphasis on the liquid phase, with droplet freezing the mechanism for ice production. Of the aerosol properties investigated, aerosol insoluble mass type and its associated freezing efficiency was found to be most relevant to cloud lifetime. Secondary effects from aerosol soluble mass fraction and number concentration also alter cloud characteristics and lifetime. These alterations occur via various mechanisms, including changes to the amount of nucleated ice, influence on liquid phase precipitation and ice riming rates, and changes to liquid droplet growth rates. Simulation of the same environment leads to large variability of cloud thickness and lifetime, ranging from rapid and complete glaciation of the cloud to the production of a long-lived, thick stratiform mixed-phase cloud. In the end, these processes are summarized into a diagram that includes internal feedback loops that act within the cloud system.