The relative importance of non-sea-salt sulphate and sea-salt aerosol to the marine cloud condensation nuclei population: An improved multi-component aerosol-cloud droplet parametrization

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Abstract

The effect of sub-cloud aerosol on cloud droplet concentration was explored over the north Atlantic and east Pacific under a variety of low and high wind speed conditions. A relationship of the form of D = 197{1 - exp(-6.13 × 103*A)} was found to fit best the relationship between cloud droplet concentration (D; cm-3) and sub-cloud aerosol concentration (A; cm-3) under low to moderate wind conditions. A few noticeable deviations from this relationship were observed which occurred under moderate to high wind speed condition. Under these high wind conditions, sea-salt aerosol provided the primary source of cloud nuclei due to their higher nucleation activity and larger sizes, even under sulphate-rich conditions. Simple model simulations reveal that the activation of sea-salt nuclei suppresses the peak supersaturation reached in cloud, and thus inhibits the activation of smaller sulphate nuclei into cloud droplets. A multi-component aerosol-droplet parametrization for use in general circulation models is developed to allow prediction of cloud droplet concentration as a function of sea-salt and non-sea-salt-(nss) sulphate nuclei. The effects of enhancing an existing nss-sulphate cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) population with sea-salt nuclei are to reduce the number of cloud droplets activated under high (polluted) sulphate conditions and to increase the cloud droplet concentration under low (clean) sulphate conditions. The presence of sea-salt CCN reduces the influence of nss-sulphate CCN on cloud droplet concentrations, and thus is likely to reduce the predicted effect of nss-sulphate indirect radiative forcing.

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