Aerosol–Stratocumulus–Radiation Interactions over the Southeast Pacific
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Atmosphere-ocean general circulation models tend to underestimate the solar radiative forcing by stratocumulus over the southeast Pacific, contributing to a warm sea surface temperature (SST) bias. The underestimation may be caused by biases in either macro-or micro-(or both) physical properties of clouds. This study used the WRF Model (incorporated with a physics-based two-moment cloud microphysical scheme) together with the 2008 Variability of the American Monsoon Systems
... cean-Cloud-Atmosphere-Land Study (VOCALS) field observations to investigate the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on the stratocumulus properties and their subsequent effects on the surface radiation balance. The effects were studied by comparing two cases: a control case with the anthropogenic aerosols and a sensitivity case without the anthropogenic aerosols. Results show that the control case produced cloud properties comparable with the measurements by aircraft and that aerosol-cloud microphysical interactions play an important role in regulating solar cloud radiative forcing. As expected, the anthropogenic aerosols increase the cloud droplet number and decrease the cloud droplet size, resulting in an enhancement of solar cloud radiative forcing and a reduction in solar radiation reaching the sea surface, up to a maximum of about 30 W m 22 near the coast. Results also show that aerosol-cloud microphysics-radiation interactions are sensitive to cloud fraction, thus highlighting the role of cloud diurnal variation in studying the cloud-radiation interactions. Analysis of the high-resolution (3 km) model simulations reveals that there exists an inherent scale dependence of aerosolcloud-radiation interactions, with coarser horizontal resolution yielding a weaker variability.