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Title: Aerosol Impacts on California Winter Clouds and Precipitation during CalWater 2011: Local Pollution versus Long-Range Transported Dust

Mineral dust aerosols often observed over California in winter and spring, associated with long-range transport from Asia and Sahara, have been linked to enhanced precipitation based on observations. Local anthropogenic pollution, on the other hand, was shown in previous observational and modeling studies to reduce precipitation. Here we incorporate recent developments in ice nucleation parameterizations to link aerosols with ice crystal formation in a spectral-bin cloud microphysical model coupled with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, to examine the relative and combined impacts of dust and local pollution particles on cloud properties and precipitation type and intensity. Simulations are carried out for two cloud cases with contrasting meteorology and cloud dynamics that occurred on February 16 (FEB16) and March 02 (MAR02) from the CalWater 2011 field campaign. In both cases, observations show the presence of dust and biological particles in a relative pristine environment. The simulated cloud microphysical properties and precipitation show reasonable agreement with aircraft and surface measurements. Model sensitivity experiments indicate that in the pristine environment, the dust and biological aerosol layers increase the accumulated precipitation by 10-20% from the Central Valley to the Sierra Nevada Mountains for both FEB16 and MAR02 due to a ~40% increasemore » in snow formation, validating the observational hypothesis. Model results show that local pollution increases precipitation over the windward slope of the mountains by few percent due to increased snow formation when dust is present but reduces precipitation by 5-8% if dust is removed on FEB16. The effects of local pollution on cloud microphysics and precipitation strongly depend on meteorology including the strength of the Sierra Barrier Jet, and cloud dynamics. This study further underscores the importance of the interactions between local pollution, dust, and environmental conditions for assessing aerosol effects on cold season precipitation in California.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14(1):81-101
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
aerosol impacts; California winter clouds; precipitation; CalWater 2011; local pollutions; long-range transported dust