Aerosol and Cloud-Nucleating Particle Observations during an Atmospheric River Event
Thursday, 17 December 2015: 16:45
3010 (Moscone West)
The multi-agency CalWater 2015 project occurred over North Central CA and the Eastern Pacific during January to March 2015 (Spackman et al., this session). The goals of the campaign were to document the structure of atmospheric rivers (ARs) that deliver much of the water vapor associated with major winter storms along the U.S. West Coast and to investigate the modulating effect of aerosols on precipitation. Aerosol sources that may influence orographic cloud properties for air lifted over the mountains in California in winter include pollution, biomass burning, soil dusts and marine aerosols, but their roles will also be influenced by transport, vertical stratification, and scavenging processes. We present results from a comprehensive study of aerosol distributions, compositions, and cloud nucleating properties during an intense winter storm during February 2015, including data from an NSF-supported measurement site at Bodega Bay, from the DOE-ARM Cloud Aerosol Precipitation Experiment that included sampling on the NOAA RV Ron Brown offshore and the G-1 aircraft over ocean and land, and with context provided by other NOAA aircraft and remote sensing facilities. With a special focus on the coastal site, we discuss changes in aerosol distributions, aerosol hygroscopicity, and number concentrations of fluorescent particles, cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), and ice nucleating particles (INPs) during the AR event. We compare with periods preceding and following the event. For example, total aerosol number and surface area concentrations at below 0.5 μm diameter decreased from typical values of a few thousand cm-3 and 100 μm2 cm-3, respectively, to a few hundred cm-3 and 10 μm2cm-3 at Bodega Bay during the AR event. CCN concentrations were similarly lower, but hygroscopicity parameter (kappa) increased from typical values of 0.2 to values > 0.5 during the AR.INP and fluorescent particle number concentrations were generally lower during the AR event than at any other times.