Aerosol-cloud interactions represent one of the largest uncertainties in external forcings on our climate system. Compared with liquid clouds, the observational evidence for the aerosol impact on ice clouds is much more limited and shows conflicting results, partly because the distinct features of different ice cloud and aerosol types were seldom considered. Using 9-year satellite retrievals, we find that, for convection-generated (anvil) ice clouds, cloud optical thickness, cloud thickness, and cloud fraction increase with small-to-moderate aerosol loadings (<0.3 aerosol optical depth) and decrease with further aerosol increase. For in situ formed ice clouds, however, these cloud properties increase monotonically and more sharply with aerosol loadings. An increase in loading of smoke aerosols generally reduces cloud optical thickness of convection-generated ice clouds, while the reverse is true for dust and anthropogenic pollution aerosols. These relationships between different cloud/aerosol types provide valuable constraints on the modeling assessment of aerosol-ice cloud radiative forcing.
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