Quantifying the Aerosol-Cloud Radiative Effect through Large Eddy Simulation and Ground-Based Observations at Southern Great Plains

Principal Investigator(s):
Graham Feingold, U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA

Although evidence of aerosol influence on the microphysical properties of cloud fields abounds, a rigorous assessment of aerosol effects on the radiative properties of cloud fields has proved to be elusive. We propose a new approach to systematically constrain the shortwave cloud radiative effect (CRE) in shallow clouds through a combination of routine large eddy simulation (LES) and newly developed surface-based shortwave radiation measurements and retrievals. We will balance analysis of cloud microphysical responses to aerosol perturbations with higher-order analysis of climate-relevant properties of the aerosol-cloud-radiation system such as cloud fraction, albedo, and liquid water path. The relationship between meteorological drivers or aerosol perturbations and the cloud field properties that most influence shortwave radiation will be the focal point of the analysis. The routine aspect of the simulations and observations will ensure that the co-variability of the meteorology and aerosol conditions is clearly expressed. The approach complements and leverages DOE/ARM’s routine LES effort at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) – LASSO.