Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Modeling Aerosol Effects on Clouds and Precipitation: Insights from CalWater 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015 - 16:15
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The CalWater 2015 field campaign took place in northern California from mid January through early March of 2015. The field campaign, including collaborations between CalWater 2 and ACAPEX, aims to improve understanding and modeling of large-scale dynamics and cloud and precipitation processes associated with atmospheric rivers (ARs) and aerosol-cloud interactions that influence precipitation variability and extremes in the western U.S. An observational strategy was employed using land and offshore assets to monitor (1) the evolution and structure of ARs from near their regions of development, (2) long range transport of aerosols in eastern North Pacific and potential interactions with ARs, and (3) how aerosols from long-range transport and local sources influence cloud and precipitation in the U.S. During the field campaign, an AR developed in the Northeast Pacific Ocean in early February and made landfall in northern California. In-situ aerosol and cloud measurements from the G-1 aircraft; remote sensing data of clouds and aerosols; and meteorological measurements from aircraft, ship, and ground-based instruments collected from February 5 – 8, 2015 are analyzed to characterize the large-scale environment and cloud and precipitation forming processes. Modeling experiments are designed using a regional model for simulations with a cloud resolving limited area domain and quasi-global coarser resolution domain to evaluate the impacts of aerosols on clouds and precipitation, and to explore the relative contributions of long-range transported and regional aerosols that interacted with the clouds before, during, and after AR landfall. Preliminary results will be discussed in the context of the field data as well as a multi-year simulation of the climatological contributions of long-range transported dust during AR landfall in California.

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