Aerosol effects on clouds and precipitation account for a large portion of uncertainties in the prediction of the future course of global hydrologic circulations and climate. As a process of a better understanding of interactions between aerosol, clouds and precipitation, simulations are performed for a mixed-phase convective multiple-cloud system over the tropics. Studies on single-cloud systems have shown that aerosol-induced increases in freezing, associated increases in parcel buoyancy and thus the intensity of clouds (or updrafts) are a main mechanism which controls aerosol–cloud–precipitation interactions in convective clouds. However, in the multiple-cloud system that plays much more important roles in global hydrologic circulations and thus climate than single-cloud systems, aerosol effects on condensation play the most important role in aerosol-induced changes in the intensity of clouds and the effects on freezing play a negligible role in those changes. Aerosol-induced enhancement in evaporation intensifies gust fronts and increases the number of subsequently developing clouds, which leads to the substantial increases in condensation and associated intensity of convection. Although aerosol-induced enhancement in freezing takes part in the increases in condensation by inducing stronger convergence around cloud bottom, the increases in condensation are ~one order of magnitude larger than those in freezing. It is found that while aerosol-induced increases in freezing create intermittent extremely heavy precipitation, aerosol-induced increases in evaporation enhance light and medium precipitation in the multiple-cloud system here. This increase in light and medium precipitation makes it possible that cumulative precipitation increases with increasing aerosol concentration, although the increase is small. It is interesting that the altitude of the maximum of the time- and domain-averaged hydrometeor mass densities is quite robust to increases in aerosol concentration. This is because locations of gust fronts and homogeneous freezing do not vary significantly with changing aerosol concentration and this outweighs aerosol effects on hydrometeor size.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science