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Jie Peng, Zhanqing Li, Hua Zhang, Jianjun Liu, and Maureen Cribb

Abstract

It has been widely recognized that aerosols can modify cloud properties, but it remains uncertain how much the changes and associated variations in cloud radiative forcing are related to aerosol loading. Using 4 yr of A-Train satellite products generated from CloudSat, the Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations satellite, and the Aqua satellite, the authors investigated the systematic changes of deep cloud properties and cloud radiative forcing (CRF) with respect to changes in aerosol loading over the entire tropics. Distinct correlations between CRF and aerosol loading were found. Systematic variations in both shortwave and longwave CRF with increasing aerosol index over oceans and aerosol optical depth over land for mixed-phase clouds were identified, but little change was seen in liquid clouds. The systematic changes are consistent with the microphysical effect and the aerosol invigoration effect. Although this study cannot fully exclude the influence of other factors, attempts were made to explore various possibilities to the extent that observation data available can offer. Assuming that the systematic dependence originates from aerosol effects, changes in CRF with respect to aerosol loading were examined using satellite retrievals. Mean changes in shortwave and longwave CRF from very clean to polluted conditions ranged from −192.84 to −296.63 W m−2 and from 18.95 to 46.12 W m−2 over land, respectively, and from −156.12 to −170.30 W m−2 and from 6.76 to 11.67 W m−2 over oceans, respectively.

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