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          Institute: MPI für Meteorologie     Collection: Atmosphere in the Earth System     Display Documents

ID: 538069.0, MPI für Meteorologie / Atmosphere in the Earth System
The global middle-atmosphere aerosol model MAECHAM5-SAM2: comparison with satellite and in-situ observations
Authors:Hommel, R.; Timmreck, C.; Graf, H.-F.
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2010
Title of Journal:Geoscientific Model Development Discussions
Start Page:1359
End Page:1421
Review Status:not specified
Audience:Not Specified
Abstract / Description:In this paper we investigate results from a middle-atmosphere aerosol-climate model which has been developed to study the evolution of stratospheric aerosols. Here we focus on the stratospheric background period and evaluate several key quantities of the global dispersion of stratospheric aerosols and their precursors with observations and other model studies. It is shown that the model fairly well reproduces in situ observations of the aerosol size and number concentrations in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS). Compared to measurements from the limb-sounding SAGE II satellite instrument, modelled integrated aerosol quantities are more biased the lower the moment of the aerosol population. Both findings are consistent with earlier work analysing the quality of SAGE II retrieved e.g. aerosol surface area densities from the volcanically unperturbed stratosphere (SPARC/ASAP, 2006; Thomason et al., 2008; Wurl et al., 2010).
The model suggests that new particles are formed over large areas of the LS, albeit nucleation rates in the upper troposphere are at least one order of magnitude larger than those in the stratosphere. Hence, we suggest that both tropospheric sulphate aerosols and particles formed in situ in the LS are maintaining the stability of the stratospheric aerosol layer also in the absence of direct stratospheric emissions from volcanoes. Particle size distributions are clearly bimodal, except in the upper branches of the stratospheric aerosol layer where aerosols evaporate. Modelled concentrations of condensation nuclei (CN) are lesser than measured in regions of the aerosol layer where aerosol mixing ratios are largest, due to an overpredicted particle growth by coagulation.
Transport regimes of tropical stratospheric aerosol have been identified from modelled aerosol mixing ratios and correspond to those deduced from satellite extinction measurements. We found that convective updraft in the Asian Monsoon region significantly contributes to both stratospheric aerosol load and size. The timing of formation and descend of layers of fine mode particles in the winter and spring polar stratosphere (CN layer) are reproduced by the model. Far above the tropopause where nucleation is inhibited due to with height increasing stratospheric temperatures, planetary wave mixing transports significant amounts of fine mode particles from the polar stratosphere to mid-latitudes. In those regions enhanced condensation rates of sulphuric acid vapour counteracts the evaporation of aerosols, hence prolonging the aerosol lifetime in the upper branches of the stratospheric aerosol layer.
Measurements of the aerosol precursors SO2 and sulphuric acid vapour are fairly well reproduced by the model throughout the stratosphere.
External Publication Status:accepted
Document Type:Article
Communicated by:Carola Kauhs
Affiliations:MPI für Meteorologie/Atmosphere in the Earth System
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