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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-714
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Aug 2018

Research article | 10 Aug 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

The relative impact of cloud condensation nuclei and ice nucleating particle concentrations on phase-partitioning in Arctic Mixed-Phase Stratocumulus Clouds

Amy Solomon1,2, Gijs de Boer1,2, Jessie M. Creamean1,2,a, Allison McComiskey2, Matthew D. Shupe1,2, Maximilian Maahn1,2, and Christopher Cox1,2 Amy Solomon et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 2Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • anow at: Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Abstract. This study investigates the interactions between cloud dynamics and aerosols in idealized large-eddy simulations of an Arctic mixed-phase stratocumulus cloud observed at Oliktok Point, Alaska in April 2015. This case was chosen because it allows the cloud to form in response to radiative cooling starting from a cloud-free state, rather than requiring the cloud ice and liquid to adjust to an initial cloudy state. Sensitivity studies are used to identify whether there are buffering feedbacks that limit the impact of aerosol perturbations. The results of this study indicate that perturbations in ice nucleating particles (INPs) dominate over cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) perturbations, i.e., an equivalent fractional decrease in CCN and INPs results in an increase in the cloud-top longwave cooling rate, even though the droplet effective radius increases and the cloud emissivity decreases. The dominant effect of ice in the simulated mixed-phase cloud is a thinning rather than a glaciation, causing the mixed-phase clouds to radiate as a grey body and the radiative properties of the cloud to be more sensitive to aerosol perturbations. It is demonstrated that allowing prognostic CCN and INP causes a layering of the aerosols, with increased concentrations of CCN above cloud top and increased concentrations of INP at the base of the cloud-driven mixed-layer. This layering contributes to the maintenance of the cloud liquid, which drives the dynamics of the cloud system.

Amy Solomon et al.
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Amy Solomon et al.
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Short summary
The results of this study indicate that perturbations in Ice Nucleating Particles (INPs) dominate over Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) perturbations in Arctic Mixed-Phase Stratocumulus, i.e., an equivalent fractional decrease in CCN and INPs results in an increase in the cloud-top longwave cooling rate, even though the droplet effective radius increases and the cloud emissivity decreases. In addition, cloud-processing causes layering of aerosols with increased concentrations of CCN at cloud top.
The results of this study indicate that perturbations in Ice Nucleating Particles (INPs)...
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