Precipitation enhancement in stratocumulus clouds through airborne seeding: sensitivity analysis by UCLALES-SALSA

Tonttila, Juha; Afzalifar, Ali; Kokkola, Harri; Raatikainen, Tomi; Korhonen, Hannele; Romakkaniemi, Sami

Artificial enhancement of precipitation via hygroscopic cloud seeding is investigated with a numerical large-eddy simulation model coupled with a spectral aerosol–cloud microphysics module. We focus our investigation on marine stratocumulus clouds and evaluate our model results by comparing them with recently published results from field observations. Creating multiple realizations of a single cloud event with the model provides a robust method to detect and attribute the seeding effects, which reinforces the analysis based on experimental data. Owing to the detailed representation of aerosol–cloud interactions, our model successfully reproduces the microphysical signatures attributed to the seeding, which were also seen in the observations. Moreover, the model simulations show up to a 2–3-fold increase in the precipitation flux due to the seeding, depending on the seeding rate and injection strategy. However, our simulations suggest that a relatively high seeding particle emission rate is needed for a substantial increase in the precipitation yield, compared with the estimated seeding concentrations from the field campaign. In practical applications, the seeding aerosol is often produced by flare burning. It is speculated that the required number of large seeding particles suggested by our results could pose a technical challenge to the flare-based approach.

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Tonttila, Juha / Afzalifar, Ali / Kokkola, Harri / et al: Precipitation enhancement in stratocumulus clouds through airborne seeding: sensitivity analysis by UCLALES-SALSA. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Juha Tonttila et al.

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