Amazon boundary layer aerosol concentration sustained by vertical transport during rainfall

TitleAmazon boundary layer aerosol concentration sustained by vertical transport during rainfall
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsWang J., Krejci R., Giangrandel S., Kuang C., Barbosa H.MJ, Brito J., Carbone S., Chi X.G, Comstock J., Ditas F., Lavric J., Manninen H.E, Mei F., Moran-Zuloaga D., Pohlker C., Pohlker M.L, Saturno J., Schmid B., Souza R.AF, Springston S.R, Tomlinson JM, Toto T., Walter D., Wimmer D., Smith JN, Kulmala M., Machado L.AT, Artaxo P., Andreae M.O, Petaja T., Martin S.T
Date Published2016/11
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0028-0836
Accession NumberWOS:000388161700051
Keywordsatmospheric aerosols; ccn; forest; free troposphere; nucleation; nuclei; tall tower; wet season

The nucleation of atmospheric vapours is an important source of new aerosol particles that can subsequently grow to form cloud condensation nuclei in the atmosphere(1). Most field studies of atmospheric aerosols over continents are influenced by atmospheric vapours of anthropogenic origin (for example, ref. 2) and, in consequence, aerosol processes in pristine, terrestrial environments remain poorly understood. The Amazon rainforest is one of the few continental regions where aerosol particles and their precursors can be studied under near-natural conditions(3-5), but the origin of small aerosol particles that grow into cloud condensation nuclei in the Amazon boundary layer remains unclear(6-8). Here we present aircraft- and ground-based measurements under clean conditions during the wet season in the central Amazon basin. We find that high concentrations of small aerosol particles (with diameters of less than 50 nanometres) in the lower free troposphere are transported from the free troposphere into the boundary layer during precipitation events by strong convective downdrafts and weaker downward motions in the trailing stratiform region. This rapid vertical transport can help to maintain the population of particles in the pristine Amazon boundary layer, and may therefore influence cloud properties and climate under natural conditions.

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