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Title: Black carbon mixing state impacts on cloud microphysical properties: effects of aerosol plume and environmental conditions

Black carbon (BC) is usually mixed with other aerosol species within individual aerosol particles. This mixture, along with the particles' size and morphology, determines the particles' optical and cloud condensation nuclei properties, and hence black carbon's climate impacts. In this study the particle-resolved aerosol model PartMC-MOSAIC was used to quantify the importance of black carbon mixing state for predicting cloud microphysical quantities. Based on a set of about 100 cloud parcel simulations a process level analysis framework was developed to attribute the response in cloud microphysical properties to changes in the underlying aerosol population ("plume effect") and the cloud parcel cooling rate ("parcel effect"). It shows that the response of cloud droplet number concentration to changes in BC emissions depends on the BC mixing state. When the aerosol population contains mainly aged BC particles an increase in BC emission results in increasing cloud droplet number concentrations ("additive effect"). In contrast, when the aerosol population contains mainly fresh BC particles they act as sinks for condensable gaseous species, resulting in a decrease in cloud droplet number concentration as BC emissions are increased ("competition effect"). Additionally, we quantified the error in cloud microphysical quantities when neglecting the information on BC mixing state,more » which is often done in aerosol models. The errors ranged from -12% to +45% for the cloud droplet number fraction, from 0% to +1022% for the nucleation-scavenged black carbon (BC) mass fraction, from -12% to +4% for the effective radius, and from -30% to +60% for the relative dispersion.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres), 121(10):5990–6013
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
black carbon; aerosol mixing state; climate; particles