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Satellites Show Aerosol's Impact on Summer Arctic Cloud Freezing
  • Lauren Zamora,
  • Ralph Kahn,
  • Lauren M Zamora
Lauren Zamora

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Ralph Kahn
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA GSFC
Lauren M Zamora
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, University of Maryland


Arctic aerosols affect cloud properties and climate. However, the magnitudes and mechanisms are uncertain, as are how aerosol-cloud relationships might change in a rapidly warming environment. We assessed some of the complex relationships between aerosols, surface, and meteorology in the relatively pristine summertime Arctic and quantified resulting impacts on clouds using CloudSat/CALIPSO data, AIRS relative humidity and temperature, plus MERRA-2 aerosol and meteorological reanalysis products. In line with previous studies, dust aerosol layers over the summertime Arctic sea ice are associated with icier clouds. However, summertime dust-associated cloud glaciation is uncommon at temperatures >-10 ºC and not likely at lower altitudes in the summer. We use DMS concentrations as a proxy for marine new particle formation. When DMS is elevated, open ocean clouds near the surface (0.6-1.5 km) are up to 12% more prevalent. These findings allow us to make some educated guesses about where key processes are occurring, such as ice nucleation from dust, and to more effectively prioritize aircraft targeting in future field campaigns, such as ARCSIX.
11 Dec 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
11 Dec 2023Published in ESS Open Archive