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Publication Date
28 December 2014

Process-model Simulations of Cloud Albedo Enhancement by Aerosols in the Arctic



A cloud-resolving model is used to simulate the effectiveness of Arctic marine cloud brightening via injection of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), either through geoengineering or other increased sources of Arctic aerosols. An updated cloud microphysical scheme is employed, with prognostic CCN and cloud particle numbers in both liquid and mixed-phase marine low clouds. Injection of CCN into the marine boundary layer can delay the collapse of the boundary layer and increase low-cloud albedo. Albedo increases are stronger for pure liquid clouds than mixed-phase clouds. Liquid precipitation can be suppressed by CCN injection, whereas ice precipitation (snow) is affected less; thus, the effectiveness of brightening mixed-phase clouds is lower than for liquid-only clouds. CCN injection into a clean regime results in a greater albedo increase than injection into a polluted regime, consistent with current knowledge about aerosol–cloud interactions. Unlike previous studies investigating warm clouds, dynamical changes in circulation owing to precipitation changes are small. According to these results, which are dependent upon the representation of ice nucleation processes in the employed microphysical scheme, Arctic geoengineering is unlikely to be effective as the sole means of altering the global radiation budget but could have substantial local radiative effects.

“Process-Model Simulations Of Cloud Albedo Enhancement By Aerosols In The Arctic”. 2014. Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society Of London A: Mathematical, Physical And Engineering Sciences 372. doi:10.1098/rsta.2014.0052.
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