Simulation of Aerosol-Cloud Interactions in the WRF Model at the Southern Great Plains Site



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The aerosol direct and indirect effects were investigated for three specific cases during the March 2000 Cloud IOP at the SGP site by using a modified WRF model. The WRF model was previously altered to include a two-moment bulk microphysical scheme for the aerosol indirect effect and a modified Goddard shortwave radiation scheme for the aerosol direct effect. The three cases studied include a developing low pressure system, a low precipitation event of mainly cirrus clouds, and a cold frontal passage. Three different aerosol profiles were used with surface concentrations ranging from 210 cm-3 to 12,000 cm-3. In addition, each case and each aerosol profile was run both with and without the aerosol direct effect. Regardless of the case, increasing the aerosol concentration generally increased cloud water and droplet values while decreasing rain water and droplet values. Increased aerosols also decreased the surface shortwave radiative flux for every case; which was greatest when the aerosol direct effect was included. For convective periods during polluted model runs, the aerosol direct effect lowered the surface temperature and reduced convection leading to a lower cloud fraction. During most convective periods, the changes to cloud, rain, and ice water mixing ratios and number concentrations produced a nonlinear precipitation trend. A balance between these values was achieved for moderate aerosol profiles, which produced the highest convective precipitation rates. In non-convective cases, due to the presence of ice particles, aerosol concentration and precipitation amounts were positively correlated. The aerosol threshold between precipitation enhancement and suppression should be further studied for specific cloud types as well as for specific synoptic weather patterns to determine its precise values.