loading page

Observed Impact of Smoke Aerosols on the Stratocumulus-to-Cumulus Transition in the Equatorial Atlantic
  • Osinachi Ajoku,
  • Arthur Miller,
  • Joel R. Norris
Osinachi Ajoku
UC San Diego

Corresponding Author:oajoku@ucsd.edu

Author Profile
Arthur Miller
Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Author Profile
Joel R. Norris
Author Profile


The impact of smoke aerosols on the stratocumulus-to-cumulus transition (SCT) in the equatorial Atlantic is studied using observation-based data for the month of June. Boundary layer deepening and increasing sea surface temperatures put the location of the SCT within the Gulf of Guinea. Satellite retrievals indicate that the bulk of aerosols occurs at 1500m in altitude, either above or below the boundary layer depending on latitudinal position. Changes in smoke loading over the Gulf of Guinea due to greater transport from regions of biomass burning leads to increased low-level cloud cover and lower surface temperatures when aerosol optical depth anomalies exceed 0.1. Similar results opposite in sign are obtained during lesser transport. Further south, we find significant changes to cloud top height, tropospheric stability and moisture availability. These effects combine to alter the SCT during increased loading, which is consistent with previous modeling studies.