Observational and modelling evidence of tropical deep convective clouds as a source of mid-tropospheric accumulation mode aerosols



[1] High concentrations (up to 550 cm−3 STP) of aerosols in the accumulation mode (>0.12 μm) were observed by aircraft above 7.5 km altitude in the dynamically active regions of several deep convective clouds during the INDOEX campaign. Using a coupled 3-D aerosol-cloud-resolving model, we find that significant evaporation of hydrometeors due to strong updrafts and exchange with ambient air occurs at the boundaries and within the cloud tower. Assuming that each evaporated hydrometeor release an aerosol, an increase in the aerosol concentration by up to 600 cm−3 STP is found in the model at altitudes between 6 and 10 km. The evaporation and release of aerosols occur as the cloud develops, suggesting that deep convective clouds are important sources of mid-tropospheric aerosols during their active lifetime. This source may significantly impact the vertical distribution as well as long-range transport of aerosols in the free troposphere.