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Contribution of regional aerosol nucleation to low-level CCN in an Amazonian...

Wang, X., H. Gordon, D. P. Grosvenor, M. O. Andreae, and K. Carslaw (2023), Contribution of regional aerosol nucleation to low-level CCN in an Amazonian deep convective environment: results from a regionally nested global model, Atmos. Chem. Phys., doi:10.5194/acp-23-4431-2023.

Global model studies and observations have shown that downward transport of aerosol nucleated in the free troposphere is a major source of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) to the global boundary layer. In Amazonia, observations show that this downward transport can occur during strong convective activity. However, it is not clear from these studies over what spatial scale this cycle of aerosol formation and downward supply of CCN is occurring. Here, we aim to quantify the extent to which the supply of aerosol to the Amazonian boundary layer is generated from nucleation within a 1000 km regional domain or from aerosol produced further afield and the effectiveness of the transport by deep convection. We run the atmosphere-only configuration of the HadGEM3 climate model incorporating a 440 km × 1080 km regional domain over Amazonia with 4 km resolution. Simulations were performed over several diurnal cycles of convection. Below 2 km altitude in the regional domain, our results show that new particle formation within the regional domain accounts for only between 0.2 % and 3.4 % of all Aitken and accumulation mode aerosol particles, whereas nucleation that occurred outside the domain (in the global model) accounts for between 58 % and 81 %. The remaining aerosol is primary in origin. Above 10 km, the regional-domain nucleation accounts for up to 66 % of Aitken and accumulation mode aerosol, but over several days very few of these particles nucleated above 10 km in the regional domain are transported into the boundary layer within the 1000 km region, and in fact very little air is mixed that far down. Rather, particles transported downwards into the boundary layer originated from outside the regional domain and entered the domain at lower altitudes. Our model results show that CCN entering the Amazonian boundary layer are transported downwards gradually over multiple convective cycles on scales much larger than 1000 km. Therefore, on a 1000 km scale in the model (approximately one-third the size of Amazonia), trace gas emission, new particle formation, transport and CCN production do not form a “closed loop” regulated by the biosphere. Rather, on this scale, long-range transport of aerosol is a much more important factor controlling CCN in the boundary layer.

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Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
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