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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 16 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Daytime aerosol optical depth above low-level clouds is similar to that in adjacent clear skies at the same heights: airborne observation above the southeast Atlantic

Yohei Shinozuka1,2, Meloë S. Kacenelenbogen2, Sharon P. Burton3, Steven G. Howell4, Paquita Zuidema5, Richard A. Ferrare3, Samuel E. LeBlanc2,6, Kristina Pistone2,6, Stephen Broccardo1,2, Jens Redemann7, K. Sebastian Schmidt8, Sabrina P. Cochrane8,9, Marta Fenn3,10, Steffen Freitag4, Amie Dobracki4,5, Michal Segal-Rosenheimer2,6,11, and Connor J. Flynn7 Yohei Shinozuka et al.
  • 1Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland, USA
  • 2NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, USA
  • 3NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 4University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
  • 5University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA
  • 6Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Moffett Field, California, USA
  • 7University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
  • 8University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 9Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 10Science Systems and Applications, Inc, Hampton, VA, USA
  • 11Department of Geophysics, Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Abstract. To help satellite retrieval of aerosols and studies of their radiative effects, we demonstrate that daytime 532 nm aerosol optical depth over low-level clouds is similar to that in neighboring clear skies at the same heights in recent airborne lidar and sunphotometer observations above the southeast Atlantic. The mean AOD difference is between 0 and −0.01, when comparing the two sides, each up to 20 km wide, of cloud edges. The difference is not statistically significant according to a paired t-test. Systematic differences in the wavelength dependence of AOD and in situ single scattering albedo are also minute. These results hold regardless of the vertical distance between cloud top and aerosol layer bottom. AOD aggregated over ~ 2° grid boxes for each of September 2016, August 2017 and October 2018 also shows little correlation with the presence of low-level clouds. We posit that a satellite retrieval artifact is entirely responsible for a previous finding of generally smaller AOD over clouds (Chung et al., 2016), at least for the region and season of our study. Our results also suggest that the same values can be assumed for the intensive properties of free-tropospheric biomass-burning aerosol regardless of whether clouds exist below.

Yohei Shinozuka et al.

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Status: open (until 28 Mar 2020)
Status: open (until 28 Mar 2020)
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Yohei Shinozuka et al.

Yohei Shinozuka et al.


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