Koren, I, Kaufman, YJ, Rosenfeld, D, Remer, LA, Rudich, Y (2005). Aerosol invigoration and restructuring of Atlantic convective clouds. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 32(14), L14828.
Clouds and precipitation play crucial roles in the Earth's energy balance, global atmospheric circulation and the availability of fresh water. Aerosols may modify cloud properties and precipitation formation by modifying the concentration and size of cloud droplets, and consequently the strength of cloud convection, and height of glaciation levels thus affecting precipitation patterns. Here we evaluate the aerosol effect on clouds, using large statistics of daily satellite data over the North Atlantic Ocean. We found a strong correlation between the presence of aerosols and the structural properties of convective clouds. These correlations suggest systematic invigoration of convective clouds by pollution, desert dust and biomass burning aerosols. On average increase in the aerosol concentration from a baseline to the average values is associated with a 0.05 +/- 0.01 increase in the cloud fraction and a 40 +/- 5mb decrease in the cloud top pressure.