LES simulation of cloud-aerosols-chemistry interactions in Western Africa
Abstract:Low clouds have a major impact on the radiative balance of the earth, in particular in tropical areas. The Southern West Africa (SWA) area encounters during boreal summer frequent formations of stratus and/or cumulus clouds over a large extent. These cloud bands, still badly represented in climatic models, can lead to large errors in the estimation of the cloud radiative forcing. Moreover, these cloud bands can evolve or not in cumulus congestus clouds leading to precipitations.
The SWA area is characterized by a large diversity of natural and anthropic emissions of gaseous chemical species and aerosol particles. These emissions have a potential large impact on the number concentration and chemical composition of aerosol particles over the SWA zone. This impact is direct through emissions of primary particles, and indirect through the formation of secondary particles from gaseous precursors. A part of these particles will act as cloud condensation nuclei, thus, influencing the cloud microphysics characteristics. In order to improve our understanding of these complex processes, an airborne campaign is planed in summer 2015 over SWA zone in the framework of the European project DACCIWA (Dynamics-aerosol-chemistry-cloud interactions in West Africa).
To prepare the campaign and begin to investigate the cloud-chemistry-aerosols interactions, a LES simulation on a case study designed from an AMMA (African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses) case has been performed with the 3D online-chemistry Meso-NH model. The LES simulation captures the chemical segregation due to thermals in the rising convective boundary layer. Comparing simulation with or without cloud chemistry highlights the effect of aqueous phase chemistry on gaseous precursors of aerosol particles.