The Marine Stratus/Stratocumulus Experiment (MASE): Aerosol-cloud relationships in marine stratocumulus

Miao Ling Lu, William C. Conant, Haflidi H. Jonsson, Varuntida Varutbangkul, Richard C. Flagan, John H. Seinfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The Marine Stratus/Stratocumulus Experiment (MASE) field campaign was undertaken in July 2005 off the coast of Monterey, California to evaluate aerosol-cloud relationships in the climatically important regime of eastern Pacific marine stratocumulus. Aerosol and cloud properties were measured onboard the Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) Twin Otter aircraft. One cloud that was clearly impacted by ship emissions as well as the ensemble of clouds observed over the entire mission are analyzed in detail. Results at both the individual and ensemble scales clearly confirm the Twomey effect (first indirect effect of aerosols) and demonstrate drizzle suppression at elevated aerosol number concentration. For the ship track impacted cloud, suppressed drizzle in the track led to a larger cloud liquid water path (LWP) at the same cloud thickness, in accord with the so-called second indirect effect. Ensemble averages over all clouds sampled over the entire 13-flight mission show the opposite effect of aerosol number concentration on LWP, presumably the result of other dynamic influences (e.g., updraft velocity and ambient sounding profile). Individual polluted clouds were found to exhibit a narrower cloud drop spectral width in accord with theoretical prediction (M.-L. Lu and J. H. Seinfeld, Effect of aerosol number concentration on cloud droplet dispersion: A large-eddy simulation study and implications for aerosol indirect forcing, Journal of Geophysical Research, 2006). This field experiment demonstrates both the indirect aerosol effect on ship track perturbed clouds, as well as the subtleties involved in extracting these effects over an ensemble of clouds sampled over a 1-month period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD10209
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 27 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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