Vertical transport and processing of aerosols in a mixed-phase convective cloud and the feedback on cloud development

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Abstract

A modelling study of vertical transport and processing of sulphate aerosol by a mixed-phase convective cloud, and the feedback of the cloud-processed aerosols on the development of cloud microphysical properties and precipitation is presented. An axisymmetric dynamic cloud model with bin-resolved microphysics and aqueous-phase chemistry is developed and is used to examine the relative importance of microphysical and chemical processes on the aerosol budget, the fate of the aerosol material inside hydrometeors, and the size distributions of cloud-processed sulphate aerosols. Numerical simulations are conducted for a moderately deep convective cloud observed during the Cooperative Convective Precipitation Experiments. The results show that aerosol particles that have been transported from the boundary layer, detrained, and then re-entrained at midcloud levels account for a large fraction of the aerosol inside hydrometeors (∼40% by mass). Convective transport by the simulated cloud enhances upper-tropospheric aerosol number and mass concentrations by factors of 2–3 and 3–4, respectively. Sensitivity studies suggest that, for the simulated case, aqueous chemistry does not modify the evolution of the cloud significantly. Finally, ice-phase hydrometeor development is very sensitive to aerosol concentrations at midcloud levels. The latter result suggests that the occurrence of mid-tropospheric aerosol layers that have been advected through long-range transport could strongly affect cloud microphysical processes and precipitation formation. Copyright © 2005 Royal Meteorological Society

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