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Observations of the Variation in Aerosol and Cloud Microphysics along the 20°S Transect on 13 November 2008 during VOCALS-REx

Zhiqiang CuiInstitute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Alan GadianNational Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Alan BlythNational Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Jonathan CrosierNational Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, Leeds, and Centre for Atmospheric Science, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

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Ian CrawfordCentre for Atmospheric Science, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

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Abstract

Observations are presented of the structure of the marine boundary layer (MBL) in the southeastern Pacific made with the U.K. BAe 146 aircraft on 13 November 2008 as it flew at a variety of altitudes along 20°S between the coast of Chile and a buoy 950 km offshore during the Variability of American Monsoon Systems (VAMOS) Ocean–Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study (VOCALS) Regional Experiment (REx). The purpose of the study is to determine the variations along the 20°S transect in the clouds and boundary layer on this particular day as compared to the typical structure determined from the composite studies. The aircraft flew in three regions on this day: relatively continuous thick stratocumulus clouds, open cells, and closed cells. Results show three particular features. First, the results of the cloud microphysics are consistent with the typical behavior showing a decrease in aerosol particles by a factor of 3–4, and a decrease in cloud droplet number concentration westward from the coast from about 200 to 100 cm−3 or less with a corresponding increase in the concentration of drizzle drops with a maximum in open cells. Sulfate was dominant in the aerosol mass. Second, there was evidence of decoupling of the marine boundary layer that coincided with a change in the cloud type from stratiform to convective. The case differs from the average found in VOCALS in that the decoupling is not consistent with the deepening–warming idea. Precipitation is thought to possibly be the cause instead, suggesting that aerosol might play a controlling role in the cloud–boundary layer structure. Finally, cold pools were observed in the MBL from the dropsonde data.

Denotes Open Access content.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Corresponding author address: Zhiqiang Cui, Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom. E-mail: z.cui@leeds.ac.uk

Abstract

Observations are presented of the structure of the marine boundary layer (MBL) in the southeastern Pacific made with the U.K. BAe 146 aircraft on 13 November 2008 as it flew at a variety of altitudes along 20°S between the coast of Chile and a buoy 950 km offshore during the Variability of American Monsoon Systems (VAMOS) Ocean–Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study (VOCALS) Regional Experiment (REx). The purpose of the study is to determine the variations along the 20°S transect in the clouds and boundary layer on this particular day as compared to the typical structure determined from the composite studies. The aircraft flew in three regions on this day: relatively continuous thick stratocumulus clouds, open cells, and closed cells. Results show three particular features. First, the results of the cloud microphysics are consistent with the typical behavior showing a decrease in aerosol particles by a factor of 3–4, and a decrease in cloud droplet number concentration westward from the coast from about 200 to 100 cm−3 or less with a corresponding increase in the concentration of drizzle drops with a maximum in open cells. Sulfate was dominant in the aerosol mass. Second, there was evidence of decoupling of the marine boundary layer that coincided with a change in the cloud type from stratiform to convective. The case differs from the average found in VOCALS in that the decoupling is not consistent with the deepening–warming idea. Precipitation is thought to possibly be the cause instead, suggesting that aerosol might play a controlling role in the cloud–boundary layer structure. Finally, cold pools were observed in the MBL from the dropsonde data.

Denotes Open Access content.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Corresponding author address: Zhiqiang Cui, Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom. E-mail: z.cui@leeds.ac.uk
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