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Observations of Hoppel Minima in CCN Spectra in Oklahoma
AuthorTabor, Samantha S.
AdvisorHudson, James G.
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Aerosols are one of the most fundamental keys to understanding the future state of the climate. Aerosols impact the radiation budget of the Earth in numerous ways and are poorly understood. Some aerosols can act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and can significantly change the properties of clouds; this is known as the Indirect Aerosol Effect (IAE) and it remains the largest climate change uncertainty. Most studies concerning CCN and the impacts of the CCN distributions occur over the ocean, leaving questions about the processing occurring over the continents. Eleven days of measurements from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site were taken from an Aerosol Intensive Operational Period (IOP) during May 2003. A ground based CCN spectrometer and differential mobility analyzer (DMA) were deployed to study the distributions of the CCN spectra and dry aerosol size distributions. 268 measurement periods were sorted by their spectral shapes by using two rating systems. Case studies of the characteristics of the spectra observed during specific times of day or particular meteorological conditions were created and it was shown that meteorological conditions have a significant impact on the shapes of the CCN distributions. Back trajectories were also analyzed and shown to have an even larger impact on the observations of the Hoppel Minima, a minima located between the processed and unprocessed CCN modes. Using vertical velocity and back trajectories along with numerous meteorological measurements it can be shown that cloud processing is not only occurring over the continent but transport of the cloud processed air to the surface is also occurring. The Hoppel Minima during this Oklahoma project had a mean critical supersaturation (Sc) of 0.68%.