Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC San Diego

Cloud Microphysical Effects of Aerosol Particle Sources and Marine Boundary Layer Processes


Marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds are an important, though uncertain, part of Earth’s radiative budget. Previous studies have shown sources of aerosol particles in the remote MBL consist of primary sea spray, secondary organic and inorganic vapors derived from the ocean, entrainment from the free troposphere, and anthropogenic pollution. The potential for these particles to become cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) is largely dependent on their hygroscopic properties. Furthermore, when clouds form, physical processes can alter the optical properties of the cloud. This dissertation aims to identify variations in aerosol sources that affect MBL CCN concentrations and physical processes throughout the cloud lifetime that influence cloud optical properties. Ambient measurements of marine particles and clouds were made throughout two campaigns in the north Pacific and four campaigns in the north Atlantic. Both clean marine and polluted clouds were sampled. Dry MBL particles were measured to identify their chemical composition and size distribution, which is necessary to identify their potential to be CCN active. The organic hygroscopicity influenced CCN concentrations and cloud optical properties significantly for particles that were mostly organic, such as ship stack and generated smoke particles. For a typical range of organic hygroscopicity the amount of reflected solar radiation varied by 0.02-0.07 for polluted conditions and less than 0.01 for clean conditions (where 1.0 reflects all solar radiation). Simulated droplet spectral width was shown to be more representative of observations when using a weighted distribution of cloud base heights and updraft velocities, and increased the albedo up to 0.02. Cloud top entrainment and decoupling of the MBL were found to account for a decrease in cloud radiative forcing. Cloud top entrainment was corrected for homogeneous entrainment and accounted for a decrease in radiative forcing of up to 50 Wm-2. Clustering of individual marine aerosol particles resulted in the identification of particle types derived from dimethyl-sulfide (DMS) oxidation. Two particle types were identified to come from DMS oxidation products and accounted for approximately 25% and 65% of CCN at 0.1% supersaturation during the winter and summer, respectively.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View