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Robert Wood, Matthew Wyant, Christopher S. Bretherton, Jasmine Rémillard, Pavlos Kollias, Jennifer Fletcher, Jayson Stemmler, Simone de Szoeke, Sandra Yuter, Matthew Miller, David Mechem, George Tselioudis, J. Christine Chiu, Julian A. L. Mann, Ewan J. O’Connor, Robin J. Hogan, Xiquan Dong, Mark Miller, Virendra Ghate, Anne Jefferson, Qilong Min, Patrick Minnis, Rabindra Palikonda, Bruce Albrecht, Ed Luke, Cecile Hannay, and Yanluan Lin

Abstract

The Clouds, Aerosol, and Precipitation in the Marine Boundary Layer (CAP-MBL) deployment at Graciosa Island in the Azores generated a 21-month (April 2009–December 2010) comprehensive dataset documenting clouds, aerosols, and precipitation using the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Mobile Facility (AMF). The scientific aim of the deployment is to gain improved understanding of the interactions of clouds, aerosols, and precipitation in the marine boundary layer.

Graciosa Island straddles the boundary between the subtropics and midlatitudes in the northeast Atlantic Ocean and consequently experiences a great diversity of meteorological and cloudiness conditions. Low clouds are the dominant cloud type, with stratocumulus and cumulus occurring regularly. Approximately half of all clouds contained precipitation detectable as radar echoes below the cloud base. Radar and satellite observations show that clouds with tops from 1 to 11 km contribute more or less equally to surface-measured precipitation at Graciosa. A wide range of aerosol conditions was sampled during the deployment consistent with the diversity of sources as indicated by back-trajectory analysis. Preliminary findings suggest important two-way interactions between aerosols and clouds at Graciosa, with aerosols affecting light precipitation and cloud radiative properties while being controlled in part by precipitation scavenging.

The data from Graciosa are being compared with short-range forecasts made with a variety of models. A pilot analysis with two climate and two weather forecast models shows that they reproduce the observed time-varying vertical structure of lower-tropospheric cloud fairly well but the cloud-nucleating aerosol concentrations less well. The Graciosa site has been chosen to be a permanent fixed ARM site that became operational in October 2013.

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Elisabeth Andrews, Patrick J. Sheridan, John A. Ogren, Derek Hageman, Anne Jefferson, Jim Wendell, Andrés Alástuey, Lucas Alados-Arboledas, Michael Bergin, Marina Ealo, A. Gannet Hallar, András Hoffer, Ivo Kalapov, Melita Keywood, Jeongeun Kim, Sang-Woo Kim, Felicia Kolonjari, Casper Labuschagne, Neng-Huei Lin, AnneMarie Macdonald, Olga L. Mayol-Bracero, Ian B. McCubbin, Marco Pandolfi, Fabienne Reisen, Sangeeta Sharma, James P. Sherman, Mar Sorribas, and Junying Sun

Abstract

To estimate global aerosol radiative forcing, measurements of aerosol optical properties are made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL)’s Global Monitoring Division (GMD) and their collaborators at 30 monitoring locations around the world. Many of the sites are located in regions influenced by specific aerosol types (Asian and Saharan desert dust, Asian pollution, biomass burning, etc.). This network of monitoring stations is a shared endeavor of NOAA and many collaborating organizations, including the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)’s Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) program, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), several U.S. and foreign universities, and foreign science organizations. The result is a long-term cooperative program making atmospheric measurements that are directly comparable with those from all the other network stations and with shared data access. The protocols and software developed to support the program facilitate participation in GAW’s atmospheric observation strategy, and the sites in the NOAA/ESRL network make up a substantial subset of the GAW aerosol observations. This paper describes the history of the NOAA/ESRL Federated Aerosol Network, details about measurements and operations, and some recent findings from the network measurements.

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