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Assessing aerosol indirect effect on clouds and regional climate of East/South Asia and West Africa using NCEP GFS


Aerosols can act as cloud condensation nuclei and ice nuclei, resulting in changes in cloud droplet/particle number/size, and hence altering the radiation budget. This study investigates the interactions between aerosols and ice clouds by incorporating the latest ice clouds parameterization in an atmospheric general circulation model. The simulation shows a decrease in effective ice cloud crystal size corresponding to aerosol increase, referred to as the aerosol first indirect effect, which has not been comprehensively studied. Ice clouds with smaller particles reflect more shortwave radiation and absorb more infrared radiation, resulting in radiation change by 0.5-1.0 W/m2 at the top of the atmosphere (TOA). The TOA radiation field is also influenced by cloud cover change due to aerosol-induced circulation change. Such aerosol effects on precipitation highly depend on the existence of a deep convection system: interactions between aerosols and ice clouds create dipole precipitation anomalies in the Asian monsoon regions; while in West Africa, enhanced convections are constrained by anticyclone effects at high levels and little precipitation increase is found. We also conduct an experiment to assess interactions between aerosols and liquid clouds and compare the climatic effects with that due to ice clouds. Radiation and temperature changes generated by liquid clouds are normally 1-2 times larger than those generated by ice clouds. The radiation change has a closer relationship to liquid cloud droplet size than liquid cloud cover, in contrast with what we find for ice clouds.

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