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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-982
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-982
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Oct 2018

Research article | 04 Oct 2018

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

Satellite observations of aerosols and clouds over southern China from 2006 to 2015: analysis of changes and possible interaction mechanisms

Nikos Benas1, Jan Fokke Meirink1, Karl-Göran Karlsson2, Martin Stengel3, and Piet Stammes1 Nikos Benas et al.
  • 1Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, the Netherlands
  • 2Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), Norrköping, Sweden
  • 3Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), Offenbach, Germany

Abstract. Aerosol and cloud properties over southern China during the 10-year period 2006–2015 are analysed based on observations from passive and active satellite sensors and emission data. The results show a decrease in aerosol optical depth over the study area by about 20% on average, accompanied by an increase in liquid cloud cover and cloud liquid water path (LWP) by 5% and 13%, respectively. Analysis of aerosol types and emissions suggests that the main driver for their reduction is a decrease in biomass burning aerosols. These changes occurred mainly in late autumn and early winter months and coincided with changes in cloud properties. For the latter, possible explanatory mechanisms were examined, including changes in circulation patterns and aerosol-cloud interactions. Further analysis of changes in aerosol vertical profiles demonstrates a consistency of the observed aerosol and cloud changes with the aerosol semi-direct effect, which depends on their relative heights. Based on this mechanism, fewer absorbing aerosols in the cloud layer would lead to an overall decrease in evaporation of cloud droplets, thus increasing cloud LWP and cover.

Nikos Benas et al.
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Short summary
In this study we analyse aerosol and cloud changes over southern China and investigate their possible interaction mechanisms. The results show decreasing aerosol loads and increasing liquid clouds. Further analysis of these changes based on various satellite data sets show consistency with the aerosol semi-direct effect, whereby less absorbing aerosols in the cloud layer would lead to an overall decrease in evaporation of cloud droplets, thus increasing cloud amount and cover.
In this study we analyse aerosol and cloud changes over southern China and investigate their...
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