AbstractSimulations of two leading-line, trailing-stratiform mesoscale convective system (MCS) events that occurred during the Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) have been used to understand the relative microphysical impacts of lower- versus midtropospheric aerosol particles (APs) on MCS precipitation. For each MCS event, four simulations were conducted in which the initial vertical location and concentrations of cloud droplet nucleating APs were varied. These simulations were used to determine the precipitation response to AP vertical location. Importantly, the total integrated number and mass of the initial aerosol profiles used in the sensitivity simulations remained constant, such that differences in the simulations could be directly attributable to changes in the vertical location of cloud droplet nucleating APs. These simulations demonstrate that lower-tropospheric APs largely influenced the precipitation response directly rearward of the leading cold pool boundary. However, farther rearward in the MCS, the relative impact of lower- versus midtropospheric APs largely depended on the MCS structure, which varied between the two events because of differences in line-normal wind shear. Midtropospheric APs were able to activate new cloud droplets in the midtropospheric levels of convective updrafts and to enhance mixed-phase precipitation through increased cloud riming, and this microphysical pathway had a more significant impact on mixed-phase precipitation in weaker line-normal wind shear conditions. This result exposes the importance of properly representing midtropospheric APs when assessing aerosol effects on clouds. This study also demonstrates the utility of assessing aerosol effects within the different regions of MCSs.
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences – American Meteorological Society
Published: Nov 14, 2017
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