The fine-scale structure of the trade wind cumuli over Barbados – an introduction to the CARRIBA project
The CARRIBA (Cloud, Aerosol, Radiation and tuRbulence in the trade wInd regime over BArbados) project, focused on high resolution and collocated measurements of thermodynamic, turbulent, microphysical, and radiative properties of trade wind cumuli over Barbados, is introduced. The project is based on two one-month field campaigns in November 2010 (climatic wet season) and April 2011 (climatic dry season). Observations are based on helicopter-borne and ground-based measurements in an area of 100 km 2 off the coast of Barbados. CARRIBA is accompanied by long-term observations at the Barbados Cloud Observatory located at the East coast of Barbados since early in 2010 and which provides a longer-term context for the CARRIBA measurements. The deployed instrumentation and sampling strategy are presented together with a classification of the meteorological conditions. The two campaigns were influenced by different air masses advected from the Caribbean area, the Atlantic Ocean, and the African continent which led to distinct aerosol conditions. Pristine conditions with low aerosol particle number concentrations of ~100 cm 3 were alternating with periods influenced by Saharan dust or aerosol from biomass burning resulting in comparably high number concentrations of ~ 500 cm 3. The biomass burning aerosol was originating from both the Caribbean area and Africa. The shallow cumulus clouds responded to the different aerosol conditions with a wide range of mean droplet sizes and number concentrations. Two days with different aerosol and cloud microphysical properties but almost identical meteorological conditions have been analyzed in detail. The differences in the droplet number concentration and droplet sizes appear not to show any significant change for turbulent cloud mixing, but the relative roles of droplet inertia and sedimentation in initiating coalescence, as well as the cloud reflectivity, do change substantially.