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Effects of Wintertime Polluted Aerosol on Clouds over the Yangtze River Delta: Case Study

Category: Aerosol Source, Formation, Transport, Deposition, and its Chemical and Physical Processes

Volume: 18 | Issue: 7 | Pages: 1799-1816
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.09.0322
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Chen Xu1, Junyan Duan1, Yanyu Wang1, Mei Li2, Tiantao Cheng 1, Hua Wang 3, Hailin Zhu1, Xin Xie1, Yuehui Liu1, Yan Ling1, Xiang Li1, Lingdong Kong1, Qianshan He4, Hongli Wang5, Renjian Zhang6

  • 1 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention (LAP3), Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • 2 Guangdong Engineering Research Center for Online Atmospheric Pollution Source Apportionment Mass Spectrometry System, Institute of Mass Spectrometer and Atmospheric Environment, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
  • 3 Environmental and Meteorology Forecast Center of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Beijing 100089, China
  • 4 Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, Shanghai 200030, China
  • 5 State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Formation and Prevention of Urban Air Pollution Complex, Institute of Atmospheric Environment, Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, Shanghai 200233, China
  • 6 Key Laboratory of Region Climate-Environment Research for Temperate East Asia (CAS-TEA), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China


Low maritime aerosol loading promotes COTs of the high- and low-clouds.
The significant effect of aerosol presents in valley and coal industry districts.
Dust aerosol makes little difference on cloud properties.
The unstable synoptic condition leads to cloud development on larger scales.
Aerosols make effect on the low-cloud evolution under the stable atmosphere.


The effects of aerosol on clouds are examined over the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) using 3 months of satellite data from the polluted wintertime from December 2013 to February 2014. The relationships between aerosol properties, and cloud micro- and macro-physical parameters are analyzed in detail to clarify the differences in cloud development under various aerosol and meteorological conditions. Complex relationships between the aerosol optical depth (AOD), and the cloud droplet radius (CDR), liquid water path (LWP) and cloud optical thickness (COT) exist in four regions of interest (ROIs). High aerosol loading does not obviously affect LWPs and COTs; in fact, aerosols inhibit development of low- and medium-low clouds over coastal areas—an effect that is more pronounced in low clouds (< 5 km) than high ones. Low aerosol loading plays a positive role in promoting the COT of high- and low-clouds over areas dominated by maritime aerosol. Aerosol loading exerts a significant influence on COTs, LWPs and CDRs in valley and coal industry districts except during high-cloud conditions. The ranges of COTs, LWPs and CDRs in dry-polluted areas are lower than in other places, which suggests that dust aerosol has little effect on cloud properties. Synoptic conditions also strongly impact cloud distribution, in particular, an unstable synoptic condition leads to cloud development on a larger horizontal and vertical scale. Ground pollution enhances the amount of low-level cloud cover even under stable conditions. Aerosol plays an important role in wintertime cloud evolution in the low layers of the troposphere (< 5 km) when the atmosphere is stable.


Aerosol Cloud Pollution The Yangtze River Delta

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