Droplet inhomogeneity in shallow cumuli: the effects of in-cloud location and aerosol number concentration

Dodson, Dillon S.; Small Griswold, Jennifer D.

Aerosol–cloud interactions are complex, including albedo and lifetime effects that cause modifications to cloud characteristics. With most cloud–aerosol interactions focused on the previously stated phenomena, there have been no in situ studies that focus explicitly on how aerosols can affect large-scale (centimeters to tens of meters) droplet inhomogeneities within clouds. This research therefore aims to gain a better understanding of how droplet inhomogeneities within cumulus clouds can be influenced by in-cloud droplet location (cloud edge vs. center) and the surrounding environmental aerosol number concentration. The pair-correlation function (PCF) is used to identify the magnitude of droplet inhomogeneity from data collected on board the Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) Twin Otter aircraft, flown during the 2006 Gulf of Mexico Atmospheric Composition and Climate Study (GoMACCS). Time stamps (at 10inline-formula−4 m spatial resolution) of cloud droplet arrival times were measured by the Artium Flight phase-Doppler interferometer (PDI). Using four complete days of data with 81 non-precipitating cloud penetrations organized into two flights of low-pollution (L1, L2) and high-pollution (H1, H2) data shows enhanced inhomogeneities near cloud edge as compared to cloud center for all four cases. Low-pollution clouds are shown to have enhanced overall inhomogeneity, with flight L2 being solely responsible for this enhanced inhomogeneity. Analysis suggests cloud age plays a larger role in the amount of inhomogeneity experienced than the aerosol number concentration, with dissipating clouds showing increased inhomogeneities as compared to growing or mature clouds. Results using a single, vertically developed cumulus cloud demonstrate enhanced droplet inhomogeneity near cloud top as compared to cloud base.



Dodson, Dillon S. / Small Griswold, Jennifer D.: Droplet inhomogeneity in shallow cumuli: the effects of in-cloud location and aerosol number concentration. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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