Impact of smoke and non-smoke aerosols on radiation and low-level clouds over the southeast Atlantic from co-located satellite observations

Baró Pérez, Alejandro; Devasthale, Abhay; Bender, Frida A.-M.; Ekman, Annica M. L.

Data derived from instruments on board the Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) and CloudSat satellites as well as meteorological parameters from reanalysis are used to explore situations when moist aerosol layers overlie stratocumulus clouds over the southeast Atlantic during the biomass burning season (June to October). To separate and quantify the impacts of aerosol loading, aerosol type, and humidity on the radiative fluxes (including cloud top cooling), the data are split into different levels of aerosol and moisture loadings. The aerosol classification available from the CALIPSO products is used to compare and contrast situations with pristine air, with smoke, and with other (non-smoke) types of aerosols. A substantial number of cases with non-smoke aerosols above clouds are found to occur under similar meteorological conditions to the smoke cases. In contrast, the meteorology is substantially different for the pristine situations, making a direct comparison with the aerosol cases ambiguous. The moisture content is enhanced within the aerosol layers, but the relative humidity does not always increase monotonously with increasing optical depth. Shortwave (SW) heating rates within the moist aerosol plumes increase with increasing aerosol loading and are higher in the smoke cases compared to the non-smoke cases. However, there is no clear correlation between moisture changes and SW absorption. Cloud top cooling rates do not show a clear correlation with moisture within the overlying aerosol layers due to the strong variability of the cooling rates caused by other meteorological factors (most notably cloud top temperature). No clear influence of aerosol type or loading on cloud top cooling rates is detected. Further, there is no correlation between aerosol loading and the thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere nor the cloud top height.



Baró Pérez, Alejandro / Devasthale, Abhay / Bender, Frida A.-M. / et al: Impact of smoke and non-smoke aerosols on radiation and low-level clouds over the southeast Atlantic from co-located satellite observations. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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Rechteinhaber: Alejandro Baró Pérez et al.

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