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Absorbing aerosol decreases cloud cover in cloud-resolving simulations over Germany
  • Fabian Senf,
  • Johannes Quaas,
  • Ina Tegen
Fabian Senf
Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research

Corresponding Author:senf@tropos.de

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Johannes Quaas
Institute for Meteorology, Universit├Ąt Leipzig, Institute for Meteorology, Universit├Ąt Leipzig
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Ina Tegen
Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research
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Abstract

Aerosol can affect clouds in various ways. Beside the micro-physical impact of aerosol particles on cloud formation, the interference of aerosol with atmospheric radiation leads to changes in local heating, surface fluxes and thus meso-scale circulations all of which may also modify clouds. Rather little is known about these so-called semi-direct effects in realistic settings-a reason, why this study investigates the impact of absorbing aerosol particles on cloud and radiation fields over Germany. Using advanced high-resolution simulations with grid spacings of 312 and 625 m, numerical experiments with different aerosol optical properties are contrasted using purely-scattering aerosol as control case and realistic absorbing aerosol as perturbation. The combined effect of surface dimming and atmospheric heating induces positive temperature and negative moisture anomalies between 800 and 900 hPa impacting low-level cloud formation. Decreased relative humidity as well as increased atmospheric stability below clouds lead to a reduction of low-level cloud cover, liquid water path and precipitation. It is further found that direct and semi-direct effects of absorbing aerosol forcing have similar magnitudes and equally contribute to a reduction of net radiation at the top of the atmosphere .
Oct 2021Published in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society volume 147 issue 741 on pages 4083-4100. 10.1002/qj.4169