Aerosols and their Impact on Radiation, Clouds, Precipitation & Severe Weather Events

TitleAerosols and their Impact on Radiation, Clouds, Precipitation & Severe Weather Events
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLi, Zhanqing, Rosenfeld Daniel, and Fan Jiwen
JournalEnvironmental Science
Date Published09/2017
Abstract / Summary

Aerosols (tiny solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere) have been in the forefront of environmental and climate change sciences as the primary atmospheric pollutant and external force affecting Earth’s weather and climate. There are two dominant mechanisms by which aerosols affect weather and climate: aerosol-radiation interactions (ARIs) and aerosol-cloud interactions (ACIs). ARIs arise from aerosol scattering and absorption, which alter the radiation budgets of the atmosphere and surface, while ACIs are connected to the fact that aerosols serve as cloud condensation nuclei and ice nuclei. Both ARIs and ACIs are coupled with atmospheric dynamics to produce a chain of complex interactions with a large range of meteorological variables that influence both weather and climate. Elaborated here are the impacts of aerosols on the radiation budget, clouds (microphysics, structure, and lifetime), precipitation, and severe weather events (lightning, thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes). Depending on environmental variables and aerosol properties, the effects can be both positive and negative, posing the largest uncertainties in the external forcing of the climate system. This has considerably hindered the ability to project future climate changes and make accurate numerical weather predictions.

URLhttp://environmentalscience.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199389414.001.0001/acrefore-9780199389414-e-126
DOI10.1093/acrefore/9780199389414.013.126
Journal: Environmental Science
Year of Publication: 2017
Date Published: 09/2017

Aerosols (tiny solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere) have been in the forefront of environmental and climate change sciences as the primary atmospheric pollutant and external force affecting Earth’s weather and climate. There are two dominant mechanisms by which aerosols affect weather and climate: aerosol-radiation interactions (ARIs) and aerosol-cloud interactions (ACIs). ARIs arise from aerosol scattering and absorption, which alter the radiation budgets of the atmosphere and surface, while ACIs are connected to the fact that aerosols serve as cloud condensation nuclei and ice nuclei. Both ARIs and ACIs are coupled with atmospheric dynamics to produce a chain of complex interactions with a large range of meteorological variables that influence both weather and climate. Elaborated here are the impacts of aerosols on the radiation budget, clouds (microphysics, structure, and lifetime), precipitation, and severe weather events (lightning, thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes). Depending on environmental variables and aerosol properties, the effects can be both positive and negative, posing the largest uncertainties in the external forcing of the climate system. This has considerably hindered the ability to project future climate changes and make accurate numerical weather predictions.

DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199389414.013.126
Citation:
Li, Z, D Rosenfeld, and J Fan.  2017.  "Aerosols and their Impact on Radiation, Clouds, Precipitation & Severe Weather Events."  Environmental Science.  https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199389414.013.126.