Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation Interactions in a Closed-cell and Non-homogenous MBL Stratocumulus Cloud

Xiaojian Zheng, Xiquan Dong, Dale M. Ward, Baike Xi, Peng Wu, Yuan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A closed-cell marine stratocumulus case during the Aerosol and Cloud Experiments in the Eastern North Atlantic (ACE-ENA) aircraft field campaign is selected to examine the heterogeneities of cloud and drizzle microphysical properties and the aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions. The spatial and vertical variabilities of cloud and drizzle microphysics are found in two different sets of flight legs: Leg-1 and Leg-2, which are parallel and perpendicular to the cloud propagation, respectively. The cloud along Leg-2 was close to adiabatic, where cloud-droplet effective radius and liquid water content linearly increase from cloud base to cloud top with less drizzle. The cloud along Leg-1 was sub-adiabatic with lower cloud-droplet number concentration and larger cloud-droplet effective, but higher drizzle droplet number concentration, larger drizzle droplet median diameter and drizzle liquid water content. The heavier drizzle frequency and intensity on Leg-1 were enhanced by the collision-coalescence processes within cloud due to strong turbulence. The sub-cloud precipitation rate on Leg-1 was significantly higher than that along Leg-2. As a result, the sub-cloud accumulation mode aerosols and CCN on Leg-1 were depleted, but the coarse model aerosols increased. This further leads to a counter-intuitive phenomenon that the CCN is less than cloud-droplet number concentration for Leg-1. The average CCN loss rates are −3.89 cm−3 h−1 and −0.77 cm−3 h−1 on Leg-1 and Leg-2, respectively. The cloud and drizzle heterogeneities inside the same stratocumulus can significantly alter the sub-cloud aerosols and CCN budget. Hence it should be treated with caution in the aircraft assessment of aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2107-2123
Number of pages17
JournalAdvances in Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • and aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions
  • cloud and drizzle properties
  • coalescence-scavenging effect of the sub-cloud aerosol and CCN
  • maritime aerosol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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