Oreopoulos, L; Cho, N; Lee, D (2020). A Global Survey of Apparent Aerosol-Cloud Interaction Signals. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 125(1), e2019JD031287.

We update and expand analysis of the apparent responses to aerosol variations of the planet's cloud regimes seen by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). We distinguish between morning aerosol loadings and afternoon clouds and consider local scales explicitly. Aerosol loading is represented by gridded aerosol optical depth (AOD) from either MODIS or a reanalysis data set, while cloud information comes exclusively from MODIS. The afternoon cloud affected quantities (CAQs) examined in conjunction with morning AOD include precipitation and cloud radiative effect, in addition to cloud properties. One analysis thrust focuses on calculating global means distinguished by morning cloud regime, of afternoon CAQs, for distinct percentiles of grid cell seasonal morning AOD distributions. When the dependence of these global means on AOD is examined, we find persistent increases in cloud radiative fluxes with AOD as predicted by classic aerosol-cloud interaction paradigms, and also deviations from expected cloud responses, especially for precipitation. The other analysis thrust involves calculations at 1 degrees scales of logarithmic CAQ sensitivities to AOD perturbations, approximated by linear regression slopes for distinct morning cloud regime groups. While the calculations are fundamentally local, we concentrate on the prevailing sensitivity signs in statistics of the slopes at global scales. Results from this second analysis approach indicate CAQ directions of change with AOD that are largely consistent with the first approach. When using a rather simple methodology where meteorological variables are treated as if they were CAQs, no conclusive results on the potential influence of meteorology on our findings are inferred. Plain Language Summary We use a variety of satellite data and satellite observations processed through a model to investigate whether we can see at global scales evidence of aerosols affecting clouds and quantities associated with them such as precipitation and the amount of radiation they reflect or emit. The (in)consistencies of what our analysis reveals compared to what is expected based on well-established theoretical and empirical expectations are discussed.