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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 29 Oct 2018

Research article | 29 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Effects of Near-Source Coagulation of Biomass Burning Aerosols on Global Predictions of Aerosol Size Distributions and Implications for Aerosol Radiative Effects

Emily Ramnarine1, John K. Kodros1, Anna L. Hodshire1, Chantelle R. Lonsdale2, Matthew J. Alvarado2, and Jeffrey R. Pierce1 Emily Ramnarine et al.
  • 1Colorado State University, Department of Atmospheric Science, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA
  • 2Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Lexington, MA, 02421, USA

Abstract. Biomass burning is a significant global source of aerosol number and mass. In fresh biomass burning plumes, aerosol coagulation reduces aerosol number and increases the median size of aerosol size distributions, impacting aerosol radiative effects. Near-source biomass burning aerosol coagulation occurs at spatial scales much smaller than the grid boxes of global and many regional models. To date, these models ignore sub-grid coagulation and instantly mix fresh biomass burning emissions into coarse grid boxes. A previous study found that the rate of particle growth by coagulation within an individual smoke plume can be approximated using the aerosol mass emissions rate, initial size distribution median diameter and modal width, plume mixing depth, and wind speed. In this paper, we use this parameterization of sub-grid coagulation in the GEOS-Chem-TOMAS global aerosol microphysics model to quantify the impacts on global aerosol size distributions, the direct radiative effect, and the cloud-albedo aerosol indirect effect.

We find that inclusion of biomass burning sub-grid coagulation reduces the biomass burning impact on the number concentration of particles larger than 80 nm (a proxy for CCN-sized particles) by 37 % globally. This CCN reduction causes our estimated global biomass burning cloud-albedo aerosol indirect effect to decrease from −76 to −43 mW m−2. Further, as sub-grid coagulation moves mass to sizes with more efficient scattering, including it increases our estimated biomass burning all-sky direct effect from −224 to −231 mW m−2 with assumed external mixing and from −188 to −197 mW m−2 with assumed internal mixing with core-shell morphology. However, due to differences in fire and meteorological conditions across regions, the impact of sub-grid coagulation is not globally uniform. We also test the sensitivity of the impact of sub-grid coagulation to two different biomass burning emission inventories, to various assumptions about the fresh biomass burning aerosol size distribution, and to two different timescales of sub-grid coagulation. The impacts of sub-grid coagulation are qualitatively the same regardless of these assumptions.

Emily Ramnarine et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Emily Ramnarine et al.
Emily Ramnarine et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Biomass burning aerosols have important global radiative effects that depend on particle size. However, model estimates of these effects do not explicitly account for coagulation of particles in biomass burning plumes. In this work, we present the first use of a sub-grid coagulation scheme in a global aerosol model to account for in-plume coagulation. We find that this in-plume coagulation leads to important changes in the biomass burning aerosol radiative effects.
Biomass burning aerosols have important global radiative effects that depend on particle size....