Allan J.D.

Clouds and aerosols in Puerto Rico – a new evaluation

Allan, J.D., et al., 2007. Clouds and aerosols in Puerto Rico — a new evaluation. Atmos.
Chem. Phys. Discuss. 7, 12573–12616.

The influence of aerosols, both natural and anthropogenic, remains a major area of uncertainty when predicting the properties and behaviour of clouds and their influence on climate. In an attempt to better understand warm cloud formation in a tropical 5 marine environment, a period of intensive measurements using some of the latest developments in online instrumentation took place in December 2004 in Puerto Rico. Simultaneous online measurements of aerosol size distributions, composition, hygroscopicity and optical properties were made near the lighthouse of Cape San Juan in the north-eastern corner of the island and at the top of East Peak mountain (1040m 10 a.s.l.), the two sites separated by 17 km. Additional measurements of the cloud droplet residual and interstitial aerosol properties were made at the mountain site, accompanied by measurements of cloud droplet size distributions, liquid water content and the chemical composition of cloud and rain water samples. Both aerosol composition and cloud properties were found to be sensitive to wind 15 sector. Air from the east-northeast (ENE) was mostly free of anthropogenic influences, the submircron fraction being mainly composed of non-sea salt sulphate, while that from the east-southeast (ESE) was found to be moderately influenced by populated islands upwind, adding smaller (<100 nm), externally mixed, carbonaceous particles to the aerosol that increased the number concentrations by over a factor of 3. This 20 change in composition was also accompanied with a reduction in the measured hygroscopicity and fractional cloud activation potential of the aerosol. At the mountain site, the average cloud droplet concentrations increased from 193 to 519 cm−3, median volume diameter decreased from 20 to 14 μm and the liquid water content increased from 0.24 to 0.31 gm−3 when the winds shifted from the ENE to ESE. Larger numbers 25 of interstitial particles were recorded, most notably at sizes greater than 100 nm, which were absent during clean conditions. The average size of the residual particles and concentrations of cloudwater nitrate, sulphate and insoluble material increased during polluted conditions.
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