Non-Monotonic Aerosol Effect on Precipitation in Convective Clouds over Tropical Oceans

Huan Liu, Jianping Guo*, Ilan Koren, Orit Altaratz, Guy Dagan, Yuan Wang, Jonathan H. Jiang, Panmao Zhai, Yuk L. Yung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Aerosol effects on convective clouds and associated precipitation constitute an important open-ended question in climate research. Previous studies have linked an increase in aerosol concentration to a delay in the onset of rain, invigorated clouds and stronger rain rates. Here, using observational data, we show that the aerosol effect on convective clouds shifts from invigoration to suppression with increasing aerosol optical depth. We explain this shift in trend (using a cloud model) as the result of a competition between two types of microphysical processes: cloud-core-based invigorating processes vs. peripheral suppressive processes. We show that the aerosol optical depth value that marks the shift between invigoration and suppression depends on the environmental thermodynamic conditions. These findings can aid in better parameterizing aerosol effects in climate models for the prediction of climate trends.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number7809
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).


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