Impacts of long-range transport of aerosols on marine-boundary-layer clouds in the eastern North Atlantic Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract. Vertical profiles of aerosols are inadequately observed and poorly represented in climate models, contributing to the current large uncertainty associated with aerosolcloud interactions. The US Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Aerosol and Cloud Experiments in the Eastern North Atlantic (ACE-ENA) aircraft field campaign near the Azores islands provided ample observations of vertical distributions of aerosol and cloud properties. Here we utilize the in situ aircraft measurements from the ACE-ENA and ground-based remote-sensing data along with an aerosol-aware Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model to characterize the aerosols due to long-range transport over a remote region and to assess their possible influence on marine-boundary-layer (MBL) clouds. The vertical profiles of aerosol and cloud properties measured via aircraft during the ACE-ENA campaign provide detailed information revealing the physical contact between transported aerosols and MBL clouds. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (ECMWF-CAMS) aerosol reanalysis data can reproduce the key features of aerosol vertical profiles in the remote region. The cloud-resolving WRF sensitivity experiments with distinctive aerosol profiles suggest that the transported aerosols and MBL cloud interactions (ACIs) require not only aerosol plumes to get close to the marine-boundary-layer top but also large cloud top height variations. Based on those criteria, the observations show that the occurrence of ACIs involving the transport of aerosol over the eastern North Atlantic (ENA) is about 62% in summer. For the case with noticeable long-range-transport aerosol effects on MBL clouds, the susceptibilities of droplet effective radius and liquid water content are 0.11 and +0.14, respectively. When varying by a similar magnitude, aerosols originating from the boundary layer exert larger microphysical influence on MBL clouds than those entrained from the free troposphere.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, Y., Zheng, X., Dong, X., Xi, B., Wu, P., Logan, T., & Yung, Y. L.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Yuan||Zheng, Xiaojian||Dong, Xiquan||Xi, Baike||Wu, Peng||Logan, Timothy||Yung, Yuk L

publication date

  • January 1, 2020 11:11 AM