Accessibility navigation

Aerosol effects on clouds are concealed by natural cloud heterogeneity and satellite retrieval errors

Arola, A., Lipponen, A., Kolmonen, P., Virtanen, T. H., Bellouin, N. ORCID:, Grosvenor, D., Gryspeerdt, E., Quaas, J. and Kokkola, H. (2022) Aerosol effects on clouds are concealed by natural cloud heterogeneity and satellite retrieval errors. Nature Communications, 13. 7357. ISSN 2041-1723

Text (Open Access) - Published Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.

[img] Text - Accepted Version
· Restricted to Repository staff only


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-34948-5


One major source of uncertainty in the cloud-mediated aerosol forcing arises from the magnitude of the cloud liquid water path (LWP) adjustment to aerosol–cloud interactions, which is poorly constrained by observations. Many of the recent satellite-based studies have observed a decreasing LWP as a function of cloud droplet number concentration (CDNC) as the dominating behavior. Estimating the LWP response to the CDNC changes is a complex task since various confounding factors need to be isolated. However, an important aspect has not been sufficiently considered: the propagation of natural spatial variability and errors in satellite retrievals of cloud optical depth and cloud effective radius to estimates of CDNC and LWP. Here we use satellite and simulated measurements to demonstrate that, because of this propagation, even a positive LWP adjustment is likely to be misinterpreted as negative. This biasing effect therefore leads to an underestimate of the aerosol-cloud climate cooling and must be properly considered in future studies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:108800
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation