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Impact of Aerosols on Convective Clouds and PrecipitationAerosols are a critical factor in the atmospheric hydrological cycle and radiation budget. As a major reason for clouds to form and a significant attenuator of solar radiation, aerosols affect climate in several ways. Current research suggests that aerosol effects on clouds could further extend to precipitation, both through the formation of cloud particles and by exerting persistent radiative forcing on the climate system that disturbs dynamics. However, the various mechanisms behind these effects, in particular the ones connected to precipitation, are not yet well understood. The atmospheric and climate communities have long been working to gain a better grasp of these critical effects and hence to reduce the significant uncertainties in climate prediction resulting from such a lack of adequate knowledge. The central theme of this paper is to review past efforts and summarize our current understanding of the effect of aerosols on precipitation processes from theoretical analysis of microphysics, observational evidence, and a range of numerical model simulations. In addition, the discrepancy between results simulated by models, as well as that between simulations and observations will be presented. Specifically, this paper will address the following topics: (1) fundamental theories of aerosol effects on microphysics and precipitation processes, (2) observational evidence of the effect of aerosols on precipitation processes, (3) signatures of the aerosol impact on precipitation from large-scale analyses, (4) results from cloud-resolving model simulations, and (5) results from large-scale numerical model simulations. Finally, several future research directions on aerosol - precipitation interactions are suggested.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Tao, Wei-Kuo
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Chen, Jen-Ping
(National Taiwan Univ. Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China)
Li, Zhanqing
(Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
Wang, Chien
(Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Zhang, Chidong
(Miami Univ. Miami, FL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
July 8, 2011
Subject Category
Meteorology And Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NSC 98-2111-M-002-001
CONTRACT_GRANT: NSC 99-2111-M-002-009-MY3
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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