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Aerosol-precipitation interactions in the southern Appalachian Mountains

Author(s): G. M. Kelly | B. F. Taubman | L. B. Perry | J. P. Sherman | P. T. Soulé | P. J. Sheridan

Journal: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
ISSN 1680-7367

Volume: 12;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 5487;
Date: 2012;
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There are many uncertainties associated with aerosol-precipitation interactions, particularly in mountain regions where a variety of processes at different spatial scales influence precipitation patterns. Aerosol-precipitation linkages were examined in the southern Appalachian Mountains, guided by the following research questions: (1) how do aerosol properties observed during precipitation events vary by season (e.g., summer vs. winter) and synoptic event type (e.g., frontal vs. non-frontal); and (2) what influence does air mass source region have on aerosol properties? Precipitation events were identified based on regional precipitation data and classified using a synoptic classification scheme developed for this study. Hourly aerosol data were collected at the Appalachian Atmospheric Interdisciplinary Research (AppalAIR) facility at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC (1110 m a.s.l., 36.215°, −81.680°). Backward air trajectories provided information on upstream atmospheric characteristics and source regions. During the warm season (June to September), greater aerosol loading dominated by larger particles was observed, while cool season (November to April) precipitation events exhibited overall lower aerosol loading with an apparent influence from biomass burning particles. Aerosol-induced precipitation enhancement may have been detected in each season, particularly during warm season non-frontal precipitation.
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