Inter-relations of precipitation, aerosols, and clouds over Andalusia, southern Spain, revealed by the Andalusian Global ObseRvatory of the Atmosphere (AGORA)

Wang, Wenyue; Hocke, Klemens; Nania, Leonardo; Cazorla, Alberto; Titos, Gloria; Matthey, Renaud; Alados-Arboledas, Lucas; Millares, Agustín; Navas-Guzmán, Francisco

The south-central interior of Andalusia experiences intricate precipitation patterns as a result of its semi-arid Mediterranean climate and the impact of Saharan dust and human-made pollutants. The primary aim of this study is to monitor the inter-relations between various factors, such as aerosols, clouds, and meteorological variables, and precipitation systems in Granada using ground-based remote sensing and in situ instruments including a microwave radiometer, ceilometer, cloud radar, nephelometer, and weather station. Over an 11-year period, we detected rain events using a physical retrieval method that employed microwave radiometer measurements. A composite analysis was applied to them to construct a climatology of the temporal evolution of precipitation. It was found that convective rain is the dominant precipitation type in Granada, accounting for 68 % of the rain events. The height of the cloud base is mainly distributed at an altitude of 2 to 7 km. Integrated water vapor (IWV) and integrated cloud liquid water (ILW) increase rapidly before the onset of rain. Aerosol scattering at the surface level and hence the aerosol concentration are reduced during rain, and the predominant mean size distribution of aerosol particles before, during, and after rain is almost the same. A meteorological environment favorable for virga formation is observed in Granada. The surface weather station detected rainfall later than the microwave radiometer, indicating virga according to ceilometer and cloud radar data. We used 889 rain-day events identified by weather station data to determine precipitation intensity classes and found that light rain is the main precipitation intensity class in Granada, accounting for 72 % of the rain-day events. This can be a result of the high tropospheric temperature induced by the Andalusian climate and the reduction of cloud droplet size by the high availability of aerosol particles in the urban atmosphere. This study provides evidence that aerosols, clouds, and meteorological variables have a combined impact on precipitation which can be considered for water resource management and improving rain forecasting accuracy.

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Wang, Wenyue / Hocke, Klemens / Nania, Leonardo / et al: Inter-relations of precipitation, aerosols, and clouds over Andalusia, southern Spain, revealed by the Andalusian Global ObseRvatory of the Atmosphere (AGORA). 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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