Two competing pathways of aerosol effects on cloud and precipitation formation

Toshihiko Takemura, Yoram J. Kaufmann, Lorraine A. Remer, Teruyuki Nakajima

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Aerosols may influence cloud formation through two pathways: One is the effect on cloud microphysics by forming smaller and more numerous cloud droplets reducing precipitation and consequently enhancing cloud lifetime. The second is referred to as the aerosol dynamic-hydrological effect in which the aerosol direct, semi-direct, and indirect effects can modulate atmospheric radiation, which perturbs atmospheric circulation, leading to redistributions of clouds and precipitation. Here this study examines climate sensitivities using a general circulation model coupled with an aerosol transport-radiation model. The model is run first with prescribed meteorology in order to isolate the cloud microphysical effect. It is run in a separate experiment with internally generated meteorology that includes dynamic-hydrological effect as the aerosols modify clouds and interact with the radiation. We find in some regions that the dynamic-hydrological effect in the free model runs counteracts the microphysical effects seen in the prescribed runs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberL04802
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 28 2007

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Geophysics
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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