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Title: Impacts of aerosols on seasonal precipitation and snowpack in California based on convection-permitting WRF-Chem simulations

Here, a version of the WRF-Chem model with fully coupled aerosol–meteorology–snowpack is employed to investigate the impacts of various aerosol sources on precipitation and snowpack in California. In particular, the impacts of locally emitted anthropogenic and dust aerosols, and aerosols transported from outside California are studied. We differentiate three pathways of aerosol effects: aerosol–radiation interaction (ARI), aerosol–snow interaction (ASI), and aerosol–cloud interaction (ACI). The convection-permitting model simulations show that precipitation, snow water equivalent (SWE), and surface air temperature averaged over the whole domain (34–42° N, 117–124° W, not including ocean points) are reduced when aerosols are included, therefore reducing large biases in these variables due to the absence of aerosol effects in the model. Aerosols affect California water resources through the warming of mountaintops and the reduction of precipitation; however, different aerosol sources play different roles in changing surface temperature, precipitation, and snowpack in California by means of various weights of the three pathways. ARI by all aerosols mainly cools the surface, leading to slightly increased SWE over the mountains. Locally emitted dust aerosols warm the surface of mountaintops through ASI, in which the reduced snow albedo associated with dusty snow leads to more surface absorption of solar radiation andmore » reduced SWE. Transported aerosols and local anthropogenic aerosols play a dominant role in increasing nonprecipitating clouds but reducing precipitation through ACI, leading to reduced SWE and runoff on the Sierra Nevada, as well as the warming of mountaintops associated with decreased SWE and hence lower surface albedo. The average changes in surface temperature from October 2012 to June 2013 are about –0.19 and 0.22 K for the whole domain and over mountaintops, respectively. Overall, the averaged reduction during October to June is about 7 % for precipitation, 3 % for SWE, and 7 % for surface runoff for the whole domain, while the corresponding numbers are 12, 10, and 10 % for the mountaintops. The reduction in SWE is more significant in a dry year, with 9 % for the whole domain and 16 % for the mountaintops. The maximum reduction of ~20 % in precipitation occurs in May and is associated with the maximum aerosol loading, leading to the largest decrease in SWE and surface runoff over that period. It is also found that dust aerosols can cause early snowmelt on the mountaintops and reduced surface runoff after April.« less
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [2] ;  [6]
  1. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  3. Univ. of California, Riverside, CA (United States)
  4. Univ. of Science and Technology of China, Anhui (China)
  5. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  6. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States); Ewha Womans Univ., Seoul (South Korea)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7324
Grant/Contract Number:
EPC-14-064; AC05-76RL01830
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online); Journal Volume: 18; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7324
European Geosciences Union
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: