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Title: Biomass smoke from southern Africa can significantly enhance the brightness of stratocumulus over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean

Abstract

Marine stratocumulus clouds cover nearly one-quarter of the ocean surface and thus play an extremely important role in determining the global radiative balance. The semipermanent marine stratocumulus deck over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean is of particular interest, because of its interactions with seasonal biomass burning aerosols that are emitted in southern Africa. Understanding the impacts of biomass burning aerosols on stratocumulus clouds and the implications for regional and global radiative balance is still very limited. Previous studies have focused on assessing the magnitude of the warming caused by solar scattering and absorption by biomass burning aerosols over stratocumulus (the direct radiative effect) or cloud adjustments to the direct radiative effect (the semidirect effect). Here, using a nested modeling approach in conjunction with observations from multiple satellites, we demonstrate that cloud condensation nuclei activated from biomass burning aerosols entrained into the stratocumulus (the microphysical effect) can play a dominant role in determining the total radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere, compared with their direct and semidirect radiative effects. Biomass burning aerosols over the region and period with heavy loadings can cause a substantial cooling (daily mean −8.05 W m −2 ), primarily as a result of clouds brightening bymore » reducing the cloud droplet size (the Twomey effect) and secondarily through modulating the diurnal cycle of cloud liquid water path and coverage (the cloud lifetime effect). Our results highlight the importance of realistically representing the interactions of stratocumulus with biomass burning aerosols in global climate models in this region.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Baltimore, MD (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1423733
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1540268
Grant/Contract Number:  
NSF-DOE-USDA Joint Earth System Modeling (EaSM) Program; SC0014641
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Journal Volume: 115 Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; stratocumulus clouds; biomass burning aerosols; aerosol–cloud interaction

Citation Formats

Lu, Zheng, Liu, Xiaohong, Zhang, Zhibo, Zhao, Chun, Meyer, Kerry, Rajapakshe, Chamara, Wu, Chenglai, Yang, Zhifeng, and Penner, Joyce E. Biomass smoke from southern Africa can significantly enhance the brightness of stratocumulus over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1713703115.
Lu, Zheng, Liu, Xiaohong, Zhang, Zhibo, Zhao, Chun, Meyer, Kerry, Rajapakshe, Chamara, Wu, Chenglai, Yang, Zhifeng, & Penner, Joyce E. Biomass smoke from southern Africa can significantly enhance the brightness of stratocumulus over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1713703115.
Lu, Zheng, Liu, Xiaohong, Zhang, Zhibo, Zhao, Chun, Meyer, Kerry, Rajapakshe, Chamara, Wu, Chenglai, Yang, Zhifeng, and Penner, Joyce E. Mon . "Biomass smoke from southern Africa can significantly enhance the brightness of stratocumulus over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1713703115.
@article{osti_1423733,
title = {Biomass smoke from southern Africa can significantly enhance the brightness of stratocumulus over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean},
author = {Lu, Zheng and Liu, Xiaohong and Zhang, Zhibo and Zhao, Chun and Meyer, Kerry and Rajapakshe, Chamara and Wu, Chenglai and Yang, Zhifeng and Penner, Joyce E.},
abstractNote = {Marine stratocumulus clouds cover nearly one-quarter of the ocean surface and thus play an extremely important role in determining the global radiative balance. The semipermanent marine stratocumulus deck over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean is of particular interest, because of its interactions with seasonal biomass burning aerosols that are emitted in southern Africa. Understanding the impacts of biomass burning aerosols on stratocumulus clouds and the implications for regional and global radiative balance is still very limited. Previous studies have focused on assessing the magnitude of the warming caused by solar scattering and absorption by biomass burning aerosols over stratocumulus (the direct radiative effect) or cloud adjustments to the direct radiative effect (the semidirect effect). Here, using a nested modeling approach in conjunction with observations from multiple satellites, we demonstrate that cloud condensation nuclei activated from biomass burning aerosols entrained into the stratocumulus (the microphysical effect) can play a dominant role in determining the total radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere, compared with their direct and semidirect radiative effects. Biomass burning aerosols over the region and period with heavy loadings can cause a substantial cooling (daily mean −8.05 W m −2 ), primarily as a result of clouds brightening by reducing the cloud droplet size (the Twomey effect) and secondarily through modulating the diurnal cycle of cloud liquid water path and coverage (the cloud lifetime effect). Our results highlight the importance of realistically representing the interactions of stratocumulus with biomass burning aerosols in global climate models in this region.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1713703115},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 12,
volume = 115,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {3}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1713703115

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Cited by: 9 works
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