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Robust relations between CCN and the vertical evolution of cloud drop size distribution in deep convective clouds
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
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2008 (English)In: Atmospheric Chemistry And Physics, ISSN 1680-7316, Vol. 8, no 6, 1661-1675 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In-situ measurements in convective clouds (up to the freezing level) over the Amazon basin show that smoke from deforestation fires prevents clouds from precipitating until they acquire a vertical development of at least 4 km, compared to only 1-2 km in clean clouds. The average cloud depth required for the onset of warm rain increased by similar to 350 m for each additional 100 cloud condensation nuclei per cm(3) at a super-saturation of 0.5% (CCN0.5%). In polluted clouds, the diameter of modal liquid water content grows much slower with cloud depth (at least by a factor of similar to 2), due to the large number of droplets that compete for available water and to the suppressed coalescence processes. Contrary to what other studies have suggested, we did not observe this effect to reach saturation at 3000 or more accumulation mode particles per cm(3). The CCN0.5% concentration was found to be a very good predictor for the cloud depth required for the onset of warm precipitation and other microphysical factors, leaving only a secondary role for the updraft velocities in determining the cloud drop size distributions. The effective radius of the cloud droplets (r(e)) was found to be a quite robust parameter for a given environment and cloud depth, showing only a small effect of partial droplet evaporation from the cloud's mixing with its drier environment. This supports one of the basic assumptions of satellite analysis of cloud microphysical processes: the ability to look at different cloud top heights in the same region and regard their r(e) as if they had been measured inside one well developed cloud. The dependence of r(e) on the adiabatic fraction decreased higher in the clouds, especially for cleaner conditions, and disappeared at r(e)>=similar to 10 mu m. We propose that droplet coalescence, which is at its peak when warm rain is formed in the cloud at r(e)=similar to 10 mu m, continues to be significant during the cloud's mixing with the entrained air, cancelling out the decrease in r(e) due to evaporation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 8, no 6, 1661-1675 p.
Keyword [en]
liquid water-content, condensation nuclei, effective radius, air-pollution, forest-fires, amazon, smoke, precipitation, rain, microphysics
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-58565DOI: 10.5194/acp-8-1661-2008ISI: 000254416700014OAI: diva2:421085
authorCount :5Available from: 2011-06-07 Created: 2011-06-03 Last updated: 2011-06-07Bibliographically approved

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