Quantifying the aerosol effect on droplet size distribution at cloud top
This work uses the number concentration-effective diameter phase-space to test cloud sensitivity to variations in the aerosol population characteristics, such as the aerosol size distribution, number concentration and hygroscopicity. It is based on the information from the top of a cloud simulated by a bin-microphysics single-column model, for initial conditions typical of the Amazon, using different assumptions regarding the entrainment and the aerosol size distribution. It is shown that the cloud-top evolution can be very sensitive to aerosol properties, but the relative importance of each parameter is variable. The sensitivity to each aerosol characteristic varies as a function of the parameter tested and is conditioned by the base values of the other parameters, showing a specific dependence for each configuration of the model. When both the entrainment and the bin treatment of the aerosol are allowed, the largest influence on the droplet size distribution sensitivity was obtained for the median radius of the aerosols and not for the total number concentration of aerosols. Our results reinforce that the cloud condensation nuclei activity can not be predicted solely on the basis of the w∕Na supersaturation-based regimes.