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  • Author or Editor: Yuan Wang x
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Jiwen Fan, Yuan Wang, Daniel Rosenfeld, and Xiaohong Liu

Abstract

Over the past decade, the number of studies that investigate aerosol–cloud interactions has increased considerably. Although tremendous progress has been made to improve the understanding of basic physical mechanisms of aerosol–cloud interactions and reduce their uncertainties in climate forcing, there is still poor understanding of 1) some of the mechanisms that interact with each other over multiple spatial and temporal scales, 2) the feedbacks between microphysical and dynamical processes and between local-scale processes and large-scale circulations, and 3) the significance of cloud–aerosol interactions on weather systems as well as regional and global climate. This review focuses on recent theoretical studies and important mechanisms on aerosol–cloud interactions and discusses the significances of aerosol impacts on radiative forcing and precipitation extremes associated with different cloud systems. The authors summarize the main obstacles preventing the science from making a leap—for example, the lack of concurrent profile measurements of cloud dynamics, microphysics, and aerosols over a wide region on the observation side and the large variability of cloud microphysics parameterizations resulting in a large spread of modeling results on the modeling side. Therefore, large efforts are needed to escalate understanding. Future directions should focus on obtaining concurrent measurements of aerosol properties and cloud microphysical and dynamic properties over a range of temporal and spatial scales collected over typical climate regimes and closure studies, as well as improving understanding and parameterizations of cloud microphysics such as ice nucleation, mixed-phase properties, and hydrometeor size and fall speed.

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Yun Lin, Yuan Wang, Bowen Pan, Jiaxi Hu, Yangang Liu, and Renyi Zhang

Abstract

A continental cloud complex, consisting of shallow cumuli, a deep convective cloud (DCC), and stratus, is simulated by a cloud-resolving Weather Research and Forecasting Model to investigate the aerosol microphysical effect (AME) and aerosol radiative effect (ARE) on the various cloud regimes and their transitions during the Department of Energy Routine Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Aerial Facility Clouds with Low Optical Water Depths Optical Radiative Observations (RACORO) campaign. Under an elevated aerosol loading with AME only, a reduced cloudiness for the shallow cumuli and stratus resulted from more droplet evaporation competing with suppressed precipitation, but an enhanced cloudiness for the DCC is attributed to more condensation. With the inclusion of ARE, the shallow cumuli are suppressed owing to the thermodynamic effects of light-absorbing aerosols. The responses of DCC and stratus to aerosols are monotonic with AME only but nonmonotonic with both AME and ARE. The DCC is invigorated because of favorable convection and moisture conditions at night induced by daytime ARE, via the so-called aerosol-enhanced conditional instability mechanism. The results reveal that the overall aerosol effects on the cloud complex are distinct from the individual cloud types, highlighting that the aerosol–cloud interactions for diverse cloud regimes and their transitions need to be evaluated to assess the regional and global climatic impacts.

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