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Publication Date
24 May 2022

Modeling impacts of ice-nucleating particles from marine aerosols on mixed-phase orographic clouds during 2015 ACAPEX field campaign



A large fraction of annual precipitation over the western United States comes from wintertime orographic clouds associated with atmospheric rivers (ARs). Transported African and Asian dust and marine aerosols from the Pacific Ocean may act as ice-nucleating particles (INPs) to affect cloud and precipitation properties over the region. Here we explored the effects of INPs from marine aerosols on orographic mixed-phase clouds and precipitation at different AR stages for an AR event observed during the 2015 ACAPEX field campaign under low dust (<0.02 cm−3) conditions. Simulations were conducted using the chemistry version of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model coupled with the spectral-bin microphysics at 1 km grid spacing, with ice nucleation connected with dust and marine aerosols. By comparing against airborne and ground-based observations, accounting for marine INP effects improves the simulation of AR-precipitation. The marine INPs enhance the formation of ice and snow, leading to less shallow warm clouds but more mixed-phase and deep clouds, as well as to a large spillover effect of precipitation after AR landfall. The responses of cloud and precipitation to marine INPs vary with the AR stages, with more significant effects before AR landfall and post-AR than after AR landfall, mainly because the moisture and temperature conditions change with the AR evolution. This work suggests weather and climate models need to consider the impacts of marine INPs since their contribution is notable under low dust conditions despite the much lower relative ice nucleation efficiency of marine INPs.

Lin, Yun, Jiwen Fan, Pengfei Li, Lai-yung Ruby Leung, Paul J. DeMott, Lexie Goldberger, Jennifer Comstock, Ying Liu, Jong-Hoon Jeong, and Jason Tomlinson. 2022. “Modeling Impacts Of Ice-Nucleating Particles From Marine Aerosols On Mixed-Phase Orographic Clouds During 2015 Acapex Field Campaign”. Atmospheric Chemistry And Physics 22 (10). Copernicus GmbH: 6749-6771. doi:10.5194/acp-22-6749-2022.
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