Oreopoulos, L, Platnick, S (2008). Radiative susceptibility of cloudy atmospheres to droplet number perturbations: 2. Global analysis from MODIS. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 113(D14), D14S21.
Global distributions of albedo susceptibility for areas covered by liquid clouds are presented for 4 months in 2005. The susceptibility estimates are based on expanded definitions presented in a companion paper and include relative cloud droplet number concentration (CDNC) changes, perturbations in cloud droplet asymmetry parameter and single-scattering albedo, atmospheric/surface effects, and incorporation of the full solar spectrum. The cloud properties (optical thickness and effective radius) used as input in the susceptibility calculations come from MODIS Terra and Aqua Collection 5 gridded data. Geographical distributions of susceptibility corresponding to absolute (absolute cloud susceptibility'') and relative (relative cloud susceptibility'') CDNC changes are markedly different indicating that the detailed nature of the cloud microphysical perturbation is important for determining the radiative forcing associated with the first indirect aerosol effect. However, both types of susceptibility exhibit common characteristics such as significant reductions when perturbations in single- scattering properties are omitted, significant increases when atmospheric absorption and surface albedo effects are ignored, and the tendency to decrease with latitude, to be higher over ocean than over land, and to be statistically similar between the morning and afternoon MODIS overpasses. The satellite-based susceptibility analysis helps elucidate the role of present-day cloud and land surface properties in indirect aerosol forcing responses. Our realistic yet moderate CDNC perturbations yield forcings on the order of 1-2 W m(-2) for cloud optical property distributions and land surface spectral albedos observed by MODIS. Since susceptibilities can potentially be computed from model fields, these results have practical application in assessing the reasonableness of model-generated estimates of the aerosol indirect radiative forcing.