Dependence of the effect of aerosols on cirrus clouds on background vertical velocity
Cirrus clouds cover approximately 20–25% of the globe and thus play an important role in the Earth's radiation budget. This important role in the radiation budget played by cirrus clouds indicates that aerosol effects on cirrus clouds can have a substantial impact on the variation of global radiative forcing if the ice–water path (IWP) changes. This study examines the aerosol indirect effect (AIE) through changes in the IWP for cirrus cloud cases. This study also examines the dependence of aerosol–cloud interactions in cirrus clouds on the large-scale vertical motion. We use a cloud-system resolving model (CSRM) coupled with a double-moment representation of cloud microphysics. Intensified interactions among the cloud ice number concentration (CINC), deposition and dynamics play a critical role in the IWP increases due to aerosol increases from the preindustrial (PI) level to the present-day (PD) level with a low large-scale vertical velocity. Increased aerosols lead to an increased CINC, providing an increased surface area for water vapor deposition. The increased surface area leads to increased deposition despite decreased supersaturation with increasing aerosols. The increased deposition causes an increased depositional heating which produces stronger updrafts, and these stronger updrafts lead to the increased IWP. However, with a high large-scale vertical velocity, the effect of increased CINC on deposition was not able to offset the effect of decreasing supersaturation with increasing aerosols. The effect of decreasing supersaturation on deposition dominant over that of increasing CINC leads to smaller deposition and IWP at high aerosol with the PD aerosol than at low aerosol with the PI aerosol. The conversion of ice crystals to aggregates through autoconversion and accretion plays a negligible role in the IWP responses to aerosols, as does the sedimentation of aggregates. The sedimentation of ice crystals plays a more important role in the IWP response to aerosol increases than the sedimentation of aggregates, but, not more important than the interactions among the CINC, supersaturation, deposition and dynamics. These interactions not only determine the effect of aerosols on IWP but also control how this effect varies with varying large-scale vertical velocities.