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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 24
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 18187-18202, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 18187-18202, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Dec 2018

Research article | 21 Dec 2018

Satellite-based estimate of the variability of warm cloud properties associated with aerosol and meteorological conditions

Yuqin Liu1,2, Jiahua Zhang2,3, Putian Zhou5, Tao Lin1,6, Juan Hong7, Lamei Shi2,3, Fengmei Yao3, Jun Wu2, Huadong Guo2, and Gerrit de Leeuw4,5 Yuqin Liu et al.
  • 1Key Lab of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China
  • 2Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 4Finish Meteorological Institute, Climate Change Unit, P.O. Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
  • 5Department of Physics, P.O. Box 64, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 6Xiamen Key Lab of Urban Metabolism, Xiamen 361021, China
  • 7Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 511443, China

Abstract. Aerosol–cloud interaction (ACI) is examined using 10 years of data from the MODIS/Terra (morning orbit) and MODIS/Aqua (afternoon orbit) satellites. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) and cloud properties retrieved from both sensors are used to explore in a statistical sense the morning-to-afternoon variation of cloud properties in conditions with low and high AOD, over both land and ocean. The results show that the interaction between aerosol particles and clouds is more complex and of greater uncertainty over land than over ocean. The variation in d(Cloud_X), defined as the mean change in cloud property Cloud_X between the morning and afternoon overpasses in high-AOD conditions minus that in low-AOD conditions, is different over land and ocean. This applies to cloud droplet effective radius (CDR), cloud fraction (CF) and cloud top pressure (CTP), but not to cloud optical thickness (COT) and cloud liquid water path (CWP). Both COT and CWP increase over land and ocean after the time step, irrespective of the AOD. However, the initial AOD conditions can affect the amplitude of variation of COT and CWP. The effects of initial cloud fraction and meteorological conditions on the change in CF under low- and high-AOD conditions after the 3h time step over land are also explored. Two cases are considered: (1) when the cloud cover increases and (2) when the cloud cover decreases. For both cases, we find that almost all values of d(CF) are positive, indicating that the variations of CF are larger in high AOD than that in low AOD after the 3h time step. The results also show that a large increase in cloud fraction occurs when scenes experience large AOD and stronger upward motion of air parcels. Furthermore, the increase rate of cloud cover is larger for high AOD with increasing relative humidity (RH) when RH is larger than 20%. We also find that a smaller increase in cloud fraction occurs when scenes experience larger AOD and larger initial cloud cover. Overall, the analysis of the diurnal variation of cloud properties provides a better understanding of aerosol–cloud interaction over land and ocean.

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