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David M. Winker, Mark A. Vaughan, Ali Omar, Yongxiang Hu, Kathleen A. Powell, Zhaoyan Liu, William H. Hunt, and Stuart A. Young

1. Introduction Aerosols and clouds have important impacts on the earth’s climate through their effects on the radiation budget and the role they play in the water cycle. Clouds reflect sunlight back to space and trap outgoing thermal radiation emitted by the earth’s surface, modulating the radiative balance of the earth–atmosphere system. The net effect of these competing cooling and warming effects depends on the altitude of the cloud layers and their multilayer structures. Aerosols also

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