Use of in situ cloud condensation nuclei, extinction, and aerosol size distribution measurements to test a method for retrieving cloud condensation nuclei profiles from surface measurements
Ghan, Steven J.
Rissman, Tracey A.
Ferrare, Richard A.
Jonsson, Haflidi H.
Flagan, Richard C.
Seinfeld, John H.
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If the aerosol composition and size distribution below cloud are uniform, the vertical profile of cloud condensation nuclei concentration can be retrieved entirely from surface measurements of CCN concentration and particle humidification function and surfacebased retrievals of relative humidity and aerosol extinction or backscatter. This provides the potential for long-term measurements of CCN concentrations near cloud base. We have used a combination of aircraft, surface in situ, and surface remote sensing measurements to test various aspects of the retrieval scheme. Our analysis leads us to the following conclusions. The retrieval works better for supersaturations of 0.1% than for 1% because CCN concentrations at 0.1% are controlled by the same particles that control extinction and backscatter. If in situ measurements of extinction are used, the retrieval explains a majority of the CCN variance at high supersaturation for at least two and perhaps five of the eight flights examined. The retrieval of the vertical profile of the humidification factor is not the major limitation of the CCN retrieval scheme. Vertical structure in the aerosol size distribution and composition is the dominant source of error in the CCN retrieval, but this vertical structure is difficult to measure from remote sensing at visible wavelengths.
The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2004JD005752
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