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Journal Article

Atmospheric energy budget response to idealized aerosol perturbation in tropical cloud systems


Cioni,  Guido
Hans Ertel Research Group Clouds and Convection, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Dagan, G., Stier, P., Christensen, M., Cioni, G., Klocke, D., & Seifert, A. (2020). Atmospheric energy budget response to idealized aerosol perturbation in tropical cloud systems. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20, 4523-4544. doi:10.5194/acp-20-4523-2020.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-632E-8
The atmospheric energy budget is analysed in numerical simulations of tropical cloud systems to better understand the physical processes behind aerosol effects on the atmospheric energy budget. The simulations include both shallow convective clouds and deep convective tropical clouds over the Atlantic Ocean. Two different sets of simulations, at different dates (10-12 and 16-18 August 2016), are simulated with different dominant cloud modes (shallow or deep). For each case, the cloud droplet number concentration (CDNC) is varied as a proxy for changes in aerosol concentrations without considering the temporal evolution of the aerosol concentration (for example due to wet scavenging, which may be more important under deep convective conditions). It is shown that the total column atmospheric radiative cooling is substantially reduced with CDNC in the deep-cloud-dominated case (by similar to 10.0 W m(-2)), while a much smaller reduction (similar to 1.6 W m(-2)) is shown in the shallow-cloud-dominated case. This trend is caused by an increase in the ice and water vapour content at the upper troposphere that leads to a reduced outgoing longwave radiation, an effect which is stronger under deep-cloud-dominated conditions. A decrease in sensible heat flux (driven by an increase in the near-surface air temperature) reduces the warming by similar to 1.4 W m(-2) in both cases. It is also shown that the cloud fraction response behaves in opposite ways to an increase in CDNC, showing an increase in the deep-cloud-dominated case and a decrease in the shallow-cloud-dominated case. This demonstrates that under different environmental conditions the response to aerosol perturbation could be different.