An observational study of the effects of aerosols on diurnal variation of heavy rainfall and associated clouds over Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei

Zhou, Siyuan; Yang, Jing; Wang, Wei-Chyung; Zhao, Chuanfeng; Gong, Daoyi; Shi, Peijun

Our previous study found that the observed rainfall diurnal variation over Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei shows the distinct signature of the effects of pollutants. Here we used the hourly rainfall data together with satellite-based daily information of aerosols and clouds to further investigate changes in heavy rainfall and clouds associated with aerosol changes. Because of the strong coupling effects, we also examined the sensitivity of these changes to moisture (specific humidity) variations. For heavy rainfall, three distinguished characteristics are identified: earlier start time, earlier peak time, and longer duration; and the signals are robust using aerosol indicators based on both aerosol optical depth and cloud droplet number concentration. In-depth analysis reveals that the first two characteristics occur in the presence of (absorbing) black carbon aerosols and that the third is related to more (scattering) sulfate aerosols and is sensitive to moisture abundance. Cloud changes are also evident, showing increases in cloud fraction, cloud top pressure, the liquid/ice cloud optical thickness and cloud water path and a decrease in ice cloud effective radius; and these changes are insensitive to moisture. Finally, the mechanisms for heavy rainfall characteristics are discussed and hypothesized.

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Zhou, Siyuan / Yang, Jing / Wang, Wei-Chyung / et al: An observational study of the effects of aerosols on diurnal variation of heavy rainfall and associated clouds over Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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