National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2000

Observations of the evolution of the aerosol, cloud and boundary-layer characteristics during the 1st ACE-2 Lagrangian experiment

Johnson, D.W., S. Osborne, R. Wood, K. Suhre, P.K. Quinn, T.S. Bates, M.O. Andreae, K. Noone, P. Glantz, B. Bandy, J. Rudolph, and C. O'Dowd

Tellus, 52B, 348–374, doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0889.2000.00087.x (2000)

During the 1st Lagrangian experiment of the North Atlantic Regional Aerosol Characterisation Experiment (ACE-2), a parcel of air was tagged by releasing a smart, constant level balloon into it from the Research Vessel Vodyanitskiy. The Meteorological Research Flight?s C-130 aircraft then followed this parcel over a period of 30 h characterising the marine boundary layer (MBL), the cloud and the physical and chemical aerosol evolution. The air mass had originated over the northern North Atlantic and thus was clean and had low aerosol concentrations. At the beginning of the experiment the MBL was over 1500 m deep and made up of a surface mixed later (SML) underlying a layer containing cloud beneath a subsidence inversion. Subsidence in the free troposphere caused the depth of the MBL to almost halve during the experiment and, after 26 h, the MBL became well mixed throughout its whole depth. Salt particle mass in the MBL increased as the surface wind speed increased from 8 m s-1 to 16 m s-1 and the accumulation mode (0.1 µm to 3.0 µm) aerosol concentrations quadrupled from 50 cm-3 to 200 cm-3. However, at the same time the total condensation nuclei (>3 nm) decreased from over 1000 cm-3 to 750 cm-3. The changes in the accumulation mode aerosol concentrations had a significant effect on the observed cloud microphysics. Observational evidence suggests that the important processes in controlling the Aitken mode concentration, which dominated the total CN concentration, included scavenging of interstitial aerosol by cloud droplets, enhanced coagulation of Aitken mode aerosol and accumulation mode aerosol due to the increased sea salt aerosol surface area, and dilution of the MBL by free tropospheric air.

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