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Published February 27, 1998 | Published
Journal Article Open

Effect of clouds on direct aerosol radiative forcing of climate


The effect of a cloud layer on top-of-atmosphere (TOA) aerosol radiative forcing is examined by means of a one-dimensional vertical column simulation. To span the range between nonabsorbing and strongly absorbing particles, (NH_4)_2SO_4 and soot aerosols are considered individually and in internal and external mixtures. For a cloud layer embedded within an aerosol layer it is shown that direct aerosol radiative forcing still occurs. For a nonabsorbing aerosol a maximum in (negative) forcing actually occurs for a thin cloud layer (100 m thickness for the set of parameters considered). The presence of an embedded cloud layer enhances the heating effect of soot aerosol, producing, for thick clouds, forcing values as much as a factor of 3 over those under cloud-free conditions. An absorbing aerosol layer can lead to an increase of in-cloud solar heating rates by up to 3% for the parameter values considered here. A cirrus cloud layer above an aerosol layer leads to only modest changes of TOA aerosol forcing from those in the absence of the cloud layer; thus aerosol forcing in the presence of typical cirrus clouds cannot be neglected.

Additional Information

Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union. (Received September 4, 1997; revised November 25, 1997; accepted November 26, 1997.) Paper number 97JD03455. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation grant ATM-9614105.

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