Aerosol-cloud Interactions

Aerosols have a direct impact on Earth's energy budget and climate through the scattering and absorption of radiation, and they indirectly alter cloud properties. Interactions between aerosols and liquid clouds represent one of the largest sources of uncertainty in historical radiative forcing on Earth's climate. Increases in aerosols can increase the number of cloud droplets, resulting in brighter and more reflective clouds, a phenomenon often referred to as the Twomey effect, cloud albedo effect, or first indirect effect. Additionally, aerosols can influence the amount of liquid water in clouds and their spatial coverage, known respectively as liquid water path (LWP) and cloud fraction (CF) adjustments. Understanding the impact of these adjustments is currently a particularly challenging aspect of research.

Our research focuses on investigating aerosol-cloud interactions using satellite measurements. Satellite data provides a global perspective, allowing us to gain invaluable insights into the variability of aerosol-cloud processes across different regions and cloud regimes. Our goal is to comprehensively understand the overall impact of water clouds, encompassing not only the cloud albedo effect but also the LWP and CF adjustments involved.

Recent project activities:

CERTAINTY: Cloud-aerosol interactions & their impacts in the earth system project, funded by the Horizon Europe program, aims to advance our comprehension of clouds and aerosols in the climate. This project aims to refine and use observations and models to understand and describe the intricate interactions between clouds and aerosols within climate and weather systems.