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Relationships Between Giant Sea Salt Particles and Clouds Inferred from Aircraft Physicochemical Data

Dadashazar, Hossein and Wang, Zhen and Crosbie, Ewan and Brunke, Michael and Zeng, Xubin and Jonsson, Haflidi and Woods, Roy K. and Flagan, Richard C. and Seinfeld, John H. and Sorooshian, Armin (2017) Relationships Between Giant Sea Salt Particles and Clouds Inferred from Aircraft Physicochemical Data. Journal of Geophysical Research. Atmospheres, 122 (6). pp. 3421-3434. ISSN 2169-897X. doi:10.1002/2016JD026019.

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This study uses airborne data from multiple field campaigns off the California coast to determine the extent to which a size distribution parameter and a cloud water chemical measurement can capture the effect of giant cloud condensation nuclei (GCCN), specifically sea salt, on marine stratocumulus cloud properties. The two GCCN proxy variables, near-surface particle number concentration for diameters > 5 µm and cloud water chloride concentration, are significantly correlated (95% confidence) with each other, and both exhibit expected relationships with other parameters (e.g., surface wind) that typically coincide with sea salt emissions. Factors influencing the relationship between these two GCCN proxy measurements include precipitation rate (R) and the standard deviation of the sub-cloud vertical velocity owing likely to scavenging effects and improved mixing/transport of sea salt to cloud base, respectively. When comparing twelve pairs of high and low chloride cloud cases (at fixed liquid water path and cloud drop number concentration), the average drop spectra for high chloride cases exhibit enhanced drop number at diameters exceeding 20 µm, especially above 30 µm. In addition, high chloride cases coincide with enhanced mean columnar R and negative values of precipitation susceptibility. The difference in drop effective radius between high and low chloride conditions decreases with height in cloud, suggesting that some GCCN-produced rain drops precipitate before reaching cloud tops. The sign of cloud responses (i.e., R) to perturbations in giant sea salt particle concentration, as evaluated from MERRA-2 reanalysis data, is consistent with the aircraft data.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Dadashazar, Hossein0000-0001-7054-4933
Wang, Zhen0000-0002-7921-3134
Crosbie, Ewan0000-0002-8895-8066
Zeng, Xubin0000-0001-7352-2764
Jonsson, Haflidi0000-0003-3043-1074
Woods, Roy K.0000-0002-3632-6374
Flagan, Richard C.0000-0001-5690-770X
Seinfeld, John H.0000-0003-1344-4068
Sorooshian, Armin0000-0002-2243-2264
Additional Information:© 2017 American Geophysical Union. Accepted manuscript online: 8 March 2017; Manuscript Accepted: 2 March 2017; Manuscript Revised: 1 March 2017; Manuscript Received: 30 September 2016. All data and results are available from the corresponding author ( This work was funded by NASA grant NNX14AM02G and Office of Naval Research grants N00014-10-1-0811, N00014-11-1-0783, N00014-10-1-0200, N00014-04-1-0118, and N00014-16-1-2567. We acknowledge Daniel Rosenfeld and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-10-1-0811
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-11-1-0783
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-10-1-0200
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-04-1-0118
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-16-1-2567
Subject Keywords:sea salt; GCCN; cloud; precipitation; MERRA; chloride
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170313-154649613
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Dadashazar, H., Z. Wang, E. Crosbie, M. Brunke, X. Zeng, H. Jonsson, R. K. Woods, R. C. Flagan, J. H. Seinfeld, and A. Sorooshian (2017), Relationships between giant sea salt particles and clouds inferred from aircraft physicochemical data, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 122, 3421–3434, doi:10.1002/2016JD026019
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:75077
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 Mar 2017 02:53
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 16:30

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