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Distribution and direct radiative forcing of carbonaceous and sulfate aerosols...

Kim, D., C. Wang, A. M. L. Ekman, M. Brock, and P. J. Rasch (2008), Distribution and direct radiative forcing of carbonaceous and sulfate aerosols in an interactive size-resolving aerosol–climate model, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D16309, doi:10.1029/2007JD009756.

A multimode, two-moment aerosol model has been incorporated in the NCAR CAM3 to develop an interactive aerosol–climate model and to study the impact of anthropogenic aerosols on the global climate system. Currently, seven aerosol modes, namely three for external sulfate and one each for external black carbon (BC), external organic carbon (OC), sulfate/BC mixture (MBS; with BC core coated by sulfate shell), and sulfate/OC mixture (MOS; a uniform mixture of OC and sulfate) are included in the model. Both mass and number concentrations of each aerosol mode, as well as the mass of carbonaceous species in the mixed modes, are predicted by the model so that the chemical, physical, and radiative processes of various aerosols can be formulated depending on aerosol’s size, chemical composition, and mixing state. Comparisons of modeled surface and vertical aerosol concentrations, as well as the optical depth of aerosols with available observations and previous model estimates, are in general agreement. However, some discrepancies do exist, likely caused by the coarse model resolution or the constant rates of anthropogenic emissions used to test the model. Comparing to the widely used mass-only method with prescribed geometric size of particles (one-moment scheme), the use of prognostic size distributions of aerosols based on a two-moment scheme in our model leads to a significant reduction in optical depth and thus the radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) of particularly external sulfate aerosols. The inclusion of two types of mixed aerosols alters the mass partitioning of carbonaceous and sulfate aerosol constituents: about 35.5%, 48.5%, and 32.2% of BC, OC, and sulfate mass, respectively, are found in the mixed aerosols. This also brings in competing effects in aerosol radiative forcing including a reduction in atmospheric abundance of BC and OC due to the shorter lifetime of internal mixtures (cooling), a mass loss of external sulfate to mixtures (warming), and an enhancement in atmospheric heating per BC mass due to the stronger absorption extinction of the MBS than external BC (warming). The combined result of including a prognostic size distribution and the mixed aerosols in the model is a much smaller total negative TOA forcing (-0.12 W m-2) of all carbonaceous and sulfate aerosol compounds compared to the cases using one-moment scheme either excluding or including internal mixtures (-0.42 and -0.71 W m-2, respectively). In addition, the global mean all-sky TOA direct forcing of aerosols is significantly more positive than the clear-sky value due to the existence of low clouds beneath the absorbing (external BC and MBS) aerosol layer, particularly over a dark surface. An emission reduction of about 44% for BC and 38% of primary OC is found to effectively change the TOA radiative forcing of the entire aerosol family by -0.14 W m-2 for clear-sky and -0.29 W m-2 for all-sky.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)