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Atmosphere 2015, 6(3), 273-298; doi:10.3390/atmos6030273

Effects of Aerosol on Cloud Liquid Water Path: Statistical Method a Potential Source for Divergence in Past Observation Based Correlative Studies

1
Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, Graduate Center, The City University of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
2
Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology (CREST) Institute, City University of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Toshihiko Takemura
Received: 11 November 2014 / Revised: 26 January 2015 / Accepted: 5 February 2015 / Published: 10 March 2015
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Abstract

Studies show a divergence in correlation between aerosol and cloud proxies, which has been thought of in the past as the results of varying physical mechanisms. Though modeling studies have supported this idea, from an observational standpoint it is difficult to attribute with confidence the correlations to specific physical mechanisms. We explore a methodology to assess the correlation between cloud water path and aerosol optical depth using Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aqua retrieved aerosol and cloud properties for absorbing and non-absorbing aerosol types over land and over the Atlantic Ocean for various meteorological conditions. The data covers a three-month period, June through August, during which different aerosol types are predominant in specific regions. Our approach eliminates outliers; sorts the data into aerosol bins; and the mean Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) value for each bin and the corresponding mean Cloud Water Path (CWP) value are determined. The mean CWP is plotted against the mean AOD. The response curve for all aerosol types shows a peak CWP value corresponding to an aerosol loading value AODpeak. The peak is used to divide the total range of aerosol loading into two sub ranges. For AOD value below AODpeak, mean CWP and mean AOD are positively correlated. The correlation between mean CWP and mean AOD is negative for aerosol loading above AODpeak. Irrespective of aerosol type, atmospheric water vapor content and lower tropospheric static stability, the peak observed for each aerosol type seems to describe a universal feature that calls for further investigation. It has been observed for a variety of geographical locations and different seasons. View Full-Text
Keywords: cloud water path (CWP); aerosol optical depth (AOD); correlation cloud water path (CWP); aerosol optical depth (AOD); correlation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Savane, O.S.; Vant-Hull, B.; Mahani, S.; Khanbilvardi, R. Effects of Aerosol on Cloud Liquid Water Path: Statistical Method a Potential Source for Divergence in Past Observation Based Correlative Studies. Atmosphere 2015, 6, 273-298.

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