613 Seminar: Thomas Eck

USRA, Code 614

The modification of aerosol optical properties due to interaction with cloud and/or fog is examined from measurements made by sun/sky radiometers at several AERONET sites. Retrieved total column volume size distributions for cases identified as aerosol modified by fog often show  a large ‘middle mode’ submicron radius (~0.4 to 0.5 microns), which is typically seen as a component of a bimodal sub-micron distribution. These middle mode sized particles are often called cloud-processed or residual aerosol. Several major air pollution events are discussed where extremely high aerosol concentrations were measured at the surface and during which fog also occurred, resulting in the detection of very large fine mode aerosols (residual mode) from AERONET retrievals in some of these events. Low wind speeds that occurred during these events were conducive to both pollutant accumulation and also fog formation. The presence of fog increases the rates of gas-to particle conversion for sulfate, nitrate and organics, in addition to increasing the mass of existing particles due to fog processing and/or hygroscopic growth.

During the July 2011 DISCOVER-AQ field experiment in Maryland, significant enhancements in AERONET sun–sky radiometer measured aerosol optical depth (AOD) were observed in the immediate vicinity of non-precipitating cumulus clouds on some days. Both measured Ångström exponents and aerosol size distribution retrievals made before, during and after cumulus development often suggest little change in fine mode particle size; therefore, implying new particle formation in addition to cloud processing and humidification of existing particles. Lidar measurements made from both ground-based and aircraft-based instruments during the experiment also measured large increases in aerosol signal at altitudes associated with the presence of fair weather cumulus clouds. These data show modifications of the aerosol vertical profile as a result of the aerosol enhancements at and below cloud altitudes.

Major field campaigns involving multiple AERONET sites in Japan and South Korea during Spring of 2012 have yielded observations of aerosol transport associated with clouds and/or aerosol properties modification as a result of fog interaction. Analysis of data from the Korean and Japan DRAGON campaigns shows that major fine-mode aerosol transport events are sometimes associated with extensive cloud cover and that cloud-screening of observations often filter out significant pollution aerosol transport events. The Spectral De-convolution Algorithm (SDA) algorithm was utilized to isolate and analyze the fine-mode aerosol optical depth (AODf) from AERONET data for these cases of persistent and extensive cloud cover. Satellite retrievals of AOD from MODIS sensors and also AOD from data assimilation forecast models were investigated to further assess the issue of detectability of high AOD events associated with high cloud fraction.

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