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Title: Final scientific report for DOE award title: Improving the Representation of Ice Sedimentation Rates in Global Climate Models

Abstract

It is well known that cirrus clouds play a major role in regulating the earth’s climate, but the details of how this works are just beginning to be understood. This project targeted the main property of cirrus clouds that influence climate processes; the ice fall speed. That is, this project improves the representation of the mass-weighted ice particle fall velocity, V m, in climate models, used to predict future climate on global and regional scales. Prior to 2007, the dominant sizes of ice particles in cirrus clouds were poorly understood, making it virtually impossible to predict how cirrus clouds interact with sunlight and thermal radiation. Due to several studies investigating the performance of optical probes used to measure the ice particle size distribution (PSD), as well as the remote sensing results from our last ARM project, it is now well established that the anomalously high concentrations of small ice crystals often reported prior to 2007 were measurement artifacts. Advances in the design and data processing of optical probes have greatly reduced these ice artifacts that resulted from the shattering of ice particles on the probe tips and/or inlet tube, and PSD measurements from one of these improved probes (the 2-dimensionalmore » Stereo or 2D-S probe) are utilized in this project to parameterize V m for climate models. Our original plan in the proposal was to parameterize the ice PSD (in terms of temperature and ice water content) and ice particle mass and projected area (in terms of mass- and area-dimensional power laws or m-D/A-D expressions) since these are the microphysical properties that determine V m, and then proceed to calculate V m from these parameterized properties. But the 2D-S probe directly measures ice particle projected area and indirectly estimates ice particle mass for each size bin. It soon became apparent that the original plan would introduce more uncertainty in the V m calculations than simply using the 2D-S measurements to directly calculate V m. By calculating V m directly from the measured PSD, ice particle projected area and estimated mass, more accurate estimates of V m are obtained. These V m values were then parameterized for climate models by relating them to (1) sampling temperature and ice water content (IWC) and (2) the effective diameter (D e) of the ice PSD. Parameterization (1) is appropriate for climate models having single-moment microphysical schemes whereas (2) is appropriate for double-moment microphysical schemes and yields more accurate V m estimates. These parameterizations were developed for tropical cirrus clouds, Arctic cirrus, mid-latitude synoptic cirrus and mid-latitude anvil cirrus clouds based on field campaigns in these regions. An important but unexpected result of this research was the discovery of microphysical evidence indicating the mechanisms by which ice crystals are produced in cirrus clouds. This evidence, derived from PSD measurements, indicates that homogeneous freezing ice nucleation dominates in mid-latitude synoptic cirrus clouds, whereas heterogeneous ice nucleation processes dominate in mid-latitude anvil cirrus. Based on these findings, D e was parameterized in terms of temperature (T) for conditions dominated by (1) homo- and (2) heterogeneous ice nucleation. From this, an experiment was designed for global climate models (GCMs). The net radiative forcing from cirrus clouds may be affected by the means ice is produced (homo- or heterogeneously), and this net forcing contributes to climate sensitivity (i.e. the change in mean global surface temperature resulting from a doubling of CO 2). The objective of this GCM experiment was to determine how a change in ice nucleation mode affects the predicted global radiation balance. In the first simulation (Run 1), the D e-T relationship for homogeneous nucleation is used at all latitudes, while in the second simulation (Run 2), the D e-T relationship for heterogeneous nucleation is used at all latitudes. For both runs, V m is calculated from D e. Two GCMs were used; the Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5) and a European GCM known as ECHAM5 (thanks to our European colleagues who collaborated with us). Similar results were obtained from both GCMs in the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, with a net cooling of ~ 1.0 W m -2 due to heterogeneous nucleation, relative to Run 1. The mean global net cooling was 2.4 W m -2 for the ECHAM5 GCM while CAM5 produced a mean global net cooling of about 0.8 W m -2. This dependence of the radiation balance on nucleation mode is substantial when one considers the direct radiative forcing from a CO 2 doubling is 4 W m -2. The differences between GCMs in mean global net cooling estimates may demonstrate a need for improving the representation of cirrus clouds in GCMs, including the coupling between microphysical and radiative properties. Unfortunately, after completing this GCM experiment, we learned from the company that provided the 2D-S microphysical data that the data was corrupted due to a computer program coding problem. Therefore the microphysical data had to be reprocessed and reanalyzed, and the GCM experiments were redone under our current ASR project but using an improved experimental design.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; USDOE CI Office of Environment and Science (CI-40)
OSTI Identifier:
1091952
Report Number(s):
DOE/06ER64201
DOE Contract Number:
FG02-06ER64201; EPS-0814372
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; climate change, climate models, cirrus clouds

Citation Formats

Mitchell, David L. Final scientific report for DOE award title: Improving the Representation of Ice Sedimentation Rates in Global Climate Models. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.2172/1091952.
Mitchell, David L. Final scientific report for DOE award title: Improving the Representation of Ice Sedimentation Rates in Global Climate Models. United States. doi:10.2172/1091952.
Mitchell, David L. 2013. "Final scientific report for DOE award title: Improving the Representation of Ice Sedimentation Rates in Global Climate Models". United States. doi:10.2172/1091952. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1091952.
@article{osti_1091952,
title = {Final scientific report for DOE award title: Improving the Representation of Ice Sedimentation Rates in Global Climate Models},
author = {Mitchell, David L.},
abstractNote = {It is well known that cirrus clouds play a major role in regulating the earth’s climate, but the details of how this works are just beginning to be understood. This project targeted the main property of cirrus clouds that influence climate processes; the ice fall speed. That is, this project improves the representation of the mass-weighted ice particle fall velocity, Vm, in climate models, used to predict future climate on global and regional scales. Prior to 2007, the dominant sizes of ice particles in cirrus clouds were poorly understood, making it virtually impossible to predict how cirrus clouds interact with sunlight and thermal radiation. Due to several studies investigating the performance of optical probes used to measure the ice particle size distribution (PSD), as well as the remote sensing results from our last ARM project, it is now well established that the anomalously high concentrations of small ice crystals often reported prior to 2007 were measurement artifacts. Advances in the design and data processing of optical probes have greatly reduced these ice artifacts that resulted from the shattering of ice particles on the probe tips and/or inlet tube, and PSD measurements from one of these improved probes (the 2-dimensional Stereo or 2D-S probe) are utilized in this project to parameterize Vm for climate models. Our original plan in the proposal was to parameterize the ice PSD (in terms of temperature and ice water content) and ice particle mass and projected area (in terms of mass- and area-dimensional power laws or m-D/A-D expressions) since these are the microphysical properties that determine Vm, and then proceed to calculate Vm from these parameterized properties. But the 2D-S probe directly measures ice particle projected area and indirectly estimates ice particle mass for each size bin. It soon became apparent that the original plan would introduce more uncertainty in the Vm calculations than simply using the 2D-S measurements to directly calculate Vm. By calculating Vm directly from the measured PSD, ice particle projected area and estimated mass, more accurate estimates of Vm are obtained. These Vm values were then parameterized for climate models by relating them to (1) sampling temperature and ice water content (IWC) and (2) the effective diameter (De) of the ice PSD. Parameterization (1) is appropriate for climate models having single-moment microphysical schemes whereas (2) is appropriate for double-moment microphysical schemes and yields more accurate Vm estimates. These parameterizations were developed for tropical cirrus clouds, Arctic cirrus, mid-latitude synoptic cirrus and mid-latitude anvil cirrus clouds based on field campaigns in these regions. An important but unexpected result of this research was the discovery of microphysical evidence indicating the mechanisms by which ice crystals are produced in cirrus clouds. This evidence, derived from PSD measurements, indicates that homogeneous freezing ice nucleation dominates in mid-latitude synoptic cirrus clouds, whereas heterogeneous ice nucleation processes dominate in mid-latitude anvil cirrus. Based on these findings, De was parameterized in terms of temperature (T) for conditions dominated by (1) homo- and (2) heterogeneous ice nucleation. From this, an experiment was designed for global climate models (GCMs). The net radiative forcing from cirrus clouds may be affected by the means ice is produced (homo- or heterogeneously), and this net forcing contributes to climate sensitivity (i.e. the change in mean global surface temperature resulting from a doubling of CO2). The objective of this GCM experiment was to determine how a change in ice nucleation mode affects the predicted global radiation balance. In the first simulation (Run 1), the De-T relationship for homogeneous nucleation is used at all latitudes, while in the second simulation (Run 2), the De-T relationship for heterogeneous nucleation is used at all latitudes. For both runs, Vm is calculated from De. Two GCMs were used; the Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5) and a European GCM known as ECHAM5 (thanks to our European colleagues who collaborated with us). Similar results were obtained from both GCMs in the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, with a net cooling of ~ 1.0 W m-2 due to heterogeneous nucleation, relative to Run 1. The mean global net cooling was 2.4 W m-2 for the ECHAM5 GCM while CAM5 produced a mean global net cooling of about 0.8 W m-2. This dependence of the radiation balance on nucleation mode is substantial when one considers the direct radiative forcing from a CO2 doubling is 4 W m-2. The differences between GCMs in mean global net cooling estimates may demonstrate a need for improving the representation of cirrus clouds in GCMs, including the coupling between microphysical and radiative properties. Unfortunately, after completing this GCM experiment, we learned from the company that provided the 2D-S microphysical data that the data was corrupted due to a computer program coding problem. Therefore the microphysical data had to be reprocessed and reanalyzed, and the GCM experiments were redone under our current ASR project but using an improved experimental design.},
doi = {10.2172/1091952},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2013,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • The objective of the proposed research was to collect data and develop models to improve our understanding of the role of drought and fire impacts on the terrestrial carbon cycle in the western US, including impacts associated with urban systems as they impacted regional carbon cycles. Using data we collected and a synthesis of other measurements, we developed new ways (a) to evaluate the representation of drought stress and fire emissions in the Community Land Model, (b) to model net ecosystem exchange combining ground level atmospheric observations with boundary layer theory, (c) to model upstream impacts of fire and fossilmore » fuel emissions on atmospheric carbon dioxide observations, and (d) to model carbon dioxide observations within urban systems and at the urban-wildland interfaces of forest ecosystems.« less
  • Mineral dust produced in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world is the dominant source of iron (Fe) in atmospheric aerosol inputs to the open ocean. The bioavailable Fe fraction of atmospheric dust is thought to regulate and occasionally limit the primary productivity in large oceanic regions, which influences the CO2 uptake from the atmosphere affecting the Earth’s climate. Because Fe bioavailability cannot be directly measured, it is assumed that the dissolved Fe or highly reactive Fe in the dust is bioavailable. The fraction of soluble Fe in dust is mainly controlled by: (1) the mineral composition of themore » soils and the emitted dust from the source areas; (2) the atmospheric processing that converts the Fe in Fe-bearing minerals into highly soluble forms of Fe. The project has mainly focused on constraining the mineral composition of dust aerosols (1), a previously neglected, yet a key issue to constrain the deposition of soluble iron. Deriving aerosol mineral composition requires global knowledge of the soil mineral content, which is available from poorly constrained global atlases. In addition, the mineral content of the emitted aerosol differs from that of the parent soil. Measurements of soil mineral fractions are based upon wet sedimentation (or ’wet sieving’) techniques that disturb the soil sample, breaking aggregates that are found in the original, undispersed soil that is subject to wind erosion. Wet sieving alters the soil size distribution, replacing aggregates that are potentially mobilized as aerosols with a collection of smaller particles. A major challenge is to derive the size-distributed mineral fractions of the emitted dust based upon their fractions measured from wet-sieved soils. Finally, representations of dust mineral composition need to account for mixtures of minerals. Examination of individual particles shows that iron, an element that is central to many climate processes, is often found as trace impurities of iron oxide attached to aggregates of other minerals. This is another challenge that has been tackled by the project. The project has produced a major step forward on our understanding of the key processes needed to predict the mineral composition of dust aerosols by connecting theory, modeling and observations. The project has produced novel semi-empirical and theoretical methods to estimate the emitted size distribution and mineral composition of dust aerosols. These methods account for soil aggregates that are potentially emitted from the original undisturbed soil but are destroyed during wet sieving. The methods construct the emitted size distribution of individual minerals building upon brittle fragmentation theory, reconstructions of wet-sieved soil mineral size distributions, and/or characteristic mineral size distributions estimated from observations at times of high concentration. Based on an unprecedented evaluation with a new global compilation of observations produced with the project support, we showed that the new methods remedy some key deficiencies compared to the previous state-of-the-art. This includes the correct representation of Fe-bearing phyllosilicates at silt sizes, where they are abundant according to observations. In addition, the quartz fraction of silt particles is in better agreement with measured values. In addition, we represent an additional class of iron oxide aerosol that is a small impurity embedded within other minerals, allowing it to travel farther than in its pure crystalline state. We assume that these impurities are least frequent in soils rich in iron oxides (as a result of the assumed effect of weathering that creates pure iron oxide crystals). The mineral composition of dust is also important to other interaction with climate - through shortwave absorption and radiative forcing, nucleation of cloud droplets and ice crystals, and the heterogeneous formation of sulfates and nitrates - and to its impacts upon human health. Despite the importance of mineral composition, models have typically assumed that soil dust aerosols have globally uniform composition. The results of this project will allow an improved estimation of the dust effects upon climate and health.« less
  • Funding from this grant supported Rachel Sanza, Yan Zhang and partially Samuel Albani. Substantial progress has been made on inclusion of mineralogy, showing the quality of the simulations, and the impact on radiation in the CAM4 and CAM5 (Scanza et al., 2015). In addition, the elemental distribution has been evaluated (and partially supported by this grant) (Zhang et al., 2015), showing that using spatial distributions of mineralogy, improved resperentation of Fe, Ca and Al are possible, compared to the limited available data. A new intermediate complexity soluble iron scheme was implemented in the Bulk Aerosol Model (BAM), which was completedmore » as part of Rachel Scanza’s PhD thesis. Currently Rachel is writing up at least two first author papers describing the general methods and comparison to observations (Scanza et al., in prep.), as well as papers describing the sensitivity to preindustrial conditions and interannual variability. This work lead to the lead PI being asked to write a commentary in Nature (Mahowald, 2013) and two review papers (Mahowald et al., 2014, Mahowald et al., submitted) and contributed to related papers (Albani et al., 2016, Albani et al., 2014, Albani et al., 2015).« less