Disclaimer: This material is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers. Visit espo.nasa.gov for information about our current projects.


Characterization of organic aerosol across the global remote troposphere: a...

Hodzic, A., P. Campuzano-Jost, H. Bian, M. Chin, P. R. Colarco, D. A. Day, K. Froyd, B. Heinold, D. Jo, J. Katich, J. K. Kodros, B. Nault, J. Pierce, E. Ray, J. Schacht, G. Schill, J. C. Schroder, J. Schwarz, D. T. Sueper, I. Tegen, S. Tilmes, K. Tsigaridis, P. Yu, and J. Jimenez-Palacios (2020), Characterization of organic aerosol across the global remote troposphere: a comparison of ATom measurements and global chemistry models, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 4607-4635, doi:10.5194/acp-20-4607-2020.

The spatial distribution and properties of submicron organic aerosol (OA) are among the key sources of uncertainty in our understanding of aerosol effects on climate. Uncertainties are particularly large over remote regions of the free troposphere and Southern Ocean, where very few data have been available and where OA predictions from AeroCom Phase II global models span 2 to 3 orders of magnitude, greatly exceeding the model spread over source regions. The (nearly) pole-to-pole vertical distribution of nonrefractory aerosols was measured with an aerosol mass spectrometer onboard the NASA DC-8 aircraft as part of the Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission during the Northern Hemisphere summer (August 2016) and winter (February 2017). This study presents the first extensive characterization of OA mass concentrations and their level of oxidation in the remote atmosphere. OA and sulfate are the major contributors by mass to submicron aerosols in the remote troposphere, together with sea salt in the marine boundary layer. Sulfate was dominant in the lower stratosphere. OA concentrations have a strong seasonal and zonal variability, with the highest levels measured in the lower troposphere in the summer and over the regions influenced by biomass burning from Africa (up to 10 µg sm−3 ). Lower concentrations (∼ 0.1–0.3 µg sm−3 ) are observed in the northern middle and high latitudes and very low concentrations (< 0.1 µg sm−3 ) in the southern middle and high latitudes. The ATom dataset is used to evaluate predictions of eight current global chemistry models that implement a variety of commonly used representations of OA sources and chemistry, as well as of the AeroCom-II ensemble. The current model ensemble captures the average vertical and spatial distribution of measured OA concentrations, and the spread of the individual models remains within a factor of 5. These results are significantly improved over the AeroCom-II model ensemble, which shows large overestimations over these regions. However, some of the improved agreement with observations occurs for the wrong reasons, as models have the tendency to greatly overestimate the primary OA fraction and underestimate the sec-

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.
Research Program: 
Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)