Christiansen, AE; Carlton, AG; Henderson, BH (2020). Differences in fine particle chemical composition on clear and cloudy days. ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, 20(19), 11607-11624.

Clouds are prevalent and alter fine particulate matter (PM2.5) mass and chemical composition. Cloud-affected satellite retrievals are subject to higher uncertainty and are often removed from data products, hindering quantitative estimates of tropospheric chemical composition during cloudy times. We examine surface PM2.5 chemical constituent concentrations in the Interagency Monitoring of PROtected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network in the United States during cloudy and clear-sky times defined using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) cloud flags from 2010 to 2014 with a focus on differences in particle species that affect hygroscopicity and aerosol liquid water (ALW). Cloudy and clear-sky periods exhibit significant differences in PM2.5 mass and chemical composition that vary regionally and seasonally. In the eastern US, relative humidity alone cannot explain differences in ALW, suggesting that emissions and in situ chemistry related to anthropogenic sources exert determining impacts. An implicit clear-sky bias may hinder efforts to quantitatively understand and improve representation of aerosol-cloud interactions, which remain dominant uncertainties in models.