Can Biomass Burning Aerosol Induced Surface Cooling Be Amplified Through Sea Surface Temperature-Cloud Feedback Over the Southeast Atlantic?

Zheng Lu, Xiaohong Liu


Department of Energy, Office of Science, Earth & Environmental Systems Modeling Program Acknowledged Support: Regional and Global Model Analysis


Biomass burning (BB) aerosols exert a strong surface cooling effect over the southeast Atlantic (SEA) via aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interactions. The reduction of the sea surface temperature (SST) can trigger the SST-low cloud feedback. Whether this feedback can amplify the surface cooling effect is examined. The modeling results from the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) demonstrate that counterintuitively the cloud radiative effect (CRE) caused by the BB aerosols is weaker if SST-low cloud feedback is considered compared to fixed-SST simulation (−2.99 W m−2 vs. −4.79 W m−2). This is caused by (a) stronger sea breeze due to larger sea-land temperature contrast causing less smoke transport over SEA and (b) less moisture supply from surface due to colder SST. Changes in SST also lead to counterclockwise rotation of ocean circulation anomalies. Consequently, the excess heat transport from the equator reverses the direction of SST-cloud feedback in this region.

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