2021 Volume 99 Issue 3 Pages 621-648
The transport and removal processes of aerosol particles, as well as their potential impacts on clouds and climate, are strongly dependent on the particle sizes. Recent advances in computational capabilities enable us to develop sectional aerosol schemes for general circulation models and chemical transport models. The sectional aerosol modeling framework provides a capacity to explicitly simulate the variations in size distributions due to microphysical processes such as nucleation and coagulation, based on the mechanisms suggested from laboratory studies and field observations. Here, we develop a two-moment sectional aerosol scheme for Spectral Radiation-Transport Model for Aerosol Species (SPRINTARS-bin) for use in Nonhydrostatic ICosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM) as an alternative to the original mass-based (single-moment) SPRINTARS-orig aerosol module. NICAM-SPRINTARS is a seamless multiscale model that has been used for regional-to-global simulations of different resolutions based on the same model framework. In this study, we performed global simulations with NICAM-SPRINTARS-bin at typical climate model resolution (Δ x ∼ 230 km) with nudging to a meteorological re-analysis. We compared our results with equivalent simulations for the original model (NICAM-SPRINTARS-orig) and observations including 500nm aerosol optical depth and 440–870nm Angstrom Exponent in AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) measurements, particle number concentrations measured at Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) sites and size-resolved number concentrations measured at European Supersites for Atmospheric Aerosol Research (EUSAAR) and German Ultrafine Aerosol Network (GUAN) sites. We found that compared to NICAM-SPRINTARS-orig, NICAM-SPRINTARS-bin demonstrates the long-range transport of ultra-fine particles to high latitudes and predicts higher Angstrom Exponent and total number concentrations that better agrees with observations. The latter underscores the importance of resolving the microphysical processes that determine concentrations of ultra-fine aerosol particles and explicitly represent size-dependent deposition in predicting these properties. However, number concentrations of coarse particles are still underestimated by both the original mass-based and the new microphysical schemes. Further efforts are needed to understand the reasons for the differences with the observed size distributions, including testing different emission and secondary organic aerosol production schemes, incorporating inter-species coagulation and black carbon aging, as well as performing simulations with higher spatial resolutions.