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Effect of Aerosols on Freezing Drops, Hail, and Precipitation in a Midlatitude Storm

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
  • | 2 NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey
  • | 3 Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • | 4 Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

A midlatitude hail storm was simulated using a new version of the spectral bin microphysics Hebrew University Cloud Model (HUCM) with a detailed description of time-dependent melting and freezing. In addition to size distributions of drops, plate-, columnar-, and branch-type ice crystals, snow, graupel, and hail, new distributions for freezing drops as well as for liquid water mass within precipitating ice particles were implemented to describe time-dependent freezing and wet growth of hail, graupel, and freezing drops.

Simulations carried out using different aerosol loadings show that an increase in aerosol loading leads to a decrease in the total mass of hail but also to a substantial increase in the maximum size of hailstones. Cumulative rain strongly increases with an increase in aerosol concentration from 100 to about 1000 cm−3. At higher cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations, the sensitivity of hailstones’ size and surface precipitation to aerosols decreases. The physical mechanism of these effects was analyzed. It was shown that the change in aerosol concentration leads to a change in the major mechanisms of hail formation and growth. The main effect of the increase in the aerosol concentration is the increase in the supercooled cloud water content. Accordingly, at high aerosol concentration, the hail grows largely by accretion of cloud droplets in the course of recycling in the cloud updraft zone. The main mechanism of hail formation in the case of low aerosol concentration is freezing of raindrops.

Corresponding author address: Prof. Alexander Khain, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel. E-mail: alexander.khain@mail.huji.ac.il

Denotes Chemistry/Aerosol content

This article is included in the Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation-Climate Interaction Special Collection.

Abstract

A midlatitude hail storm was simulated using a new version of the spectral bin microphysics Hebrew University Cloud Model (HUCM) with a detailed description of time-dependent melting and freezing. In addition to size distributions of drops, plate-, columnar-, and branch-type ice crystals, snow, graupel, and hail, new distributions for freezing drops as well as for liquid water mass within precipitating ice particles were implemented to describe time-dependent freezing and wet growth of hail, graupel, and freezing drops.

Simulations carried out using different aerosol loadings show that an increase in aerosol loading leads to a decrease in the total mass of hail but also to a substantial increase in the maximum size of hailstones. Cumulative rain strongly increases with an increase in aerosol concentration from 100 to about 1000 cm−3. At higher cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations, the sensitivity of hailstones’ size and surface precipitation to aerosols decreases. The physical mechanism of these effects was analyzed. It was shown that the change in aerosol concentration leads to a change in the major mechanisms of hail formation and growth. The main effect of the increase in the aerosol concentration is the increase in the supercooled cloud water content. Accordingly, at high aerosol concentration, the hail grows largely by accretion of cloud droplets in the course of recycling in the cloud updraft zone. The main mechanism of hail formation in the case of low aerosol concentration is freezing of raindrops.

Corresponding author address: Prof. Alexander Khain, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel. E-mail: alexander.khain@mail.huji.ac.il

Denotes Chemistry/Aerosol content

This article is included in the Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation-Climate Interaction Special Collection.

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