Data collected during the Rain In Cumulus over the Ocean (RICO) campaign demonstrate a relationship between the low-level wind speed, droplet concentrations and the presence of large cloud droplets near cloud base in trade wind clouds in a clean marine background atmosphere. Weak winds were associated with fewer activated cloud droplets, larger mean droplet sizes, and more large cloud droplets, even though the concentration of giant/ultragiant sea-salt aerosol increased with increasing near-surface wind speed. The data suggest that in unpolluted trade wind cumuli: (1) the production of large cloud droplets near cloud base is controlled primarily by the intensity of the cloud base updraft rather than the concentration of giant/ultragiant sea-salt particles; (2) higher droplet concentrations are more likely under conditions of stronger low-level wind speeds, primarily because stronger low-level wind speeds are associated with more intense cloud base updrafts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Earth and Planetary Sciences