Effects of Cloud-Processed CCN on Warm Clouds

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Stephen R Noble Jr, Desert Research Institute Reno - DRI, Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Reno, NV, United States and James Gary Hudson, Desert Research Institute Reno, Reno, NV, United States
Cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) distributions are transformed by in-cloud processing. This can be chemical: aqueous oxidation; or physical: Brownian scavenging, collision and coalescence. Droplet evaporation then leaves behind the cloud-processed CCN. Chemical processing increases CCN size (lower critical supersaturation; Sc) but does not change CCN concentration (NCCN) (Feingold and Kreidenweis, 2000). Physical processing leads to an increase in size (lower Sc) and decrease of NCCN. These processes are especially important in stratus clouds that cover large areas and persist for long periods. Modified CCN in turn modify cloud droplet spectra. Both chemical and physical processing were observed during the 2005 MArine Stratus/stratocumulus Experiment (MASE) field campaign. Higher concentrations of SO4 and NO3 anions with lower SO2 and O3 were associated with bimodal CCN spectra whereas monomodal spectra had lower SO4 and NO3 and higher SO2 and O3. These are consistent with chemical processing.

Two nearby MASE CCN spectra, one bimodal and one monomodal were input to an adiabatic cloud droplet growth model. Model runs at various updrafts (W) show that the low Sc cloud processed mode of the bimodal CCN spectrum augmented droplet activation creating higher cloud droplet concentrations (Nc) for low W characteristic of stratus clouds (Fig. 1a, black). Higher NCCN at low Sc (black data) also increased condensation competition and thus reduced cloud effective S (Seff) (Fig.1b). This increases W importance for determining Nc (Hudson and Noble, 2014). These high NCCN at low Sc and lower Seff of the bimodal CCN spectrum reduce droplet mean diameter (MD; Fig. 1c) and broaden droplet distributions (sigma; Fig. 1d). Increased Nc and decreased MD of chemical processing seems to augment the indirect aerosol effect (IAE) whereas inherently decreased Nc and increased MD of coalescence processing reduces IAE. CCN cloud-processing alters cloud microphysics (Nc, Seff, MD, and sigma) thus affecting IAE and is therefore as influential as CCN sources.

Feingold, G., and S. Kreidenweis, 2000. J. Geophys. Res., 105(D19), 24351-24361.

Hudson, J. G., S. Noble, 2014. J. Atmos. Sci., 71, 312–331.