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Evidence of mineral dust altering cloud microphysics and precipitation

by Q.-L. Min, R. Li, B. Lin, E. Joseph, S. Wang, Y. Hu, V. Morris, F. Chang
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions ()

Abstract

Multi-platform and multi-sensor observations are employed to investigate the impact of mineral dust on cloud microphysical and precipitation processes in mesoscale convective systems. For a given convective strength, small hydrometeors were more prevalent in the stratiform rain regions with dust than in those regions that were dust free. Evidence of abundant cloud ice particles in the dust sector, particularly at altitudes where heterogeneous nucleation of mineral dust prevails, further supports the observed changes of precipitation. The consequences of the microphysical effects of the dust aerosols were to shift the precipitation size spectrum from heavy precipitation to light precipitation and ultimately suppressing precipitation.

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