Sea-Salt Aerosol Effects on the Simulated Microphysics and Precipitation in a Tropical Cyclone


  • We investigate the effects of sea-salt aerosol (SSA) activated as cloud condensation nuclei on the microphysical processes, precipitation, and thermodynamics of a tropical cyclone (TC). The Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) was used together with a parameterization of SSA production. Three simulations, with different levels of SSA emission (CTL, LOW, HIGH), were conducted. The simulation results show that SSA contributes to the processes of autoconversion of cloud water and accretion of cloud water by rain, thereby promoting rain formation. The latent heat release increases with SSA emission, slightly increasing horizontal wind speeds of the TC. The presence of SSA also regulates the thermodynamic structure and precipitation of the TC. In the HIGH simulation, higher latent heat release gives rise to stronger updrafts in the TC eyewall area, leading to enhanced precipitation. In the LOW simulation, due to decreased latent heat release, the temperature in the TC eye is lower, enhancing the downdrafts in the region; and because of conservation of mass, updrafts in the eyewall also strengthen slightly; as a result, precipitation in the LOW experiment is a little higher than that in the CTL experiment. Overall, the relationship between the precipitation rate and SSA emission is nonlinear.
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