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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 28 Jan 2019

Research article | 28 Jan 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Observationally constrained analysis of sea salt aerosol in the marine atmosphere

Huisheng Bian1,2, Karl Froyd3,4, Daniel M. Murphy3, Jack Dibb5, Mian Chin2, Peter R. Colarco2, Anton Darmenov2, Arlindo da Silva2, Tom L. Kucsera6, Gregory Schill3,4, Hongbin Yu2, Paul Bui7, Maximillan Dollner8, Bernadett Weinzierl8, and Alexander Smirnov9 Huisheng Bian et al.
  • 1University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Baltimore County, MD
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
  • 3NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division, CO
  • 4Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
  • 5University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
  • 6Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD
  • 7NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
  • 8University of Vienna, Faculty of Physics, Aerosol and Environmental Physics , Boltzmanngasse 5, A-1090 Wien, Austria
  • 9Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, MD 20706

Abstract. Atmospheric sea salt plays important roles in marine cloud formation and atmospheric chemistry. We performed an integrated analysis of NASA GEOS model simulations run with the GOCART aerosol module, in situ measurements from the PALMS and SAGA instruments obtained during the NASA ATom campaign, and aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements from AERONET Marine Aerosol Network (MAN) sun photometers and from MODIS satellite observations to better constrain sea salt in the marine atmosphere. ATom measurements and GEOS model simulation both show that sea salt concentrations over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans have a strong vertical gradient, varying up to four orders of magnitude from the marine boundary layer to free troposphere. The modeled residence times suggest that the lifetime of sea salt particles with dry diameter less than 3 μm is largely controlled by wet removal, followed next by turbulent process. During both boreal summer and winter, the GEOS simulated sea salt mass mixing ratios agree with SAGA measurements in the marine boundary layer (MBL) and with PALMS measurements above the MBL. However, comparison of AOD from GEOS with AERONET/MAN and MODIS aerosol retrievals indicated that the model underestimated AOD over the oceans where sea salt dominates. The apparent discrepancy of slightly overpredicted concentration and large underpredicted AOD could not be explained by biases in the model RH, which was found to be comparable to or larger than the in-situ measurements. This conundrum is at least partially explained by the sea salt size distribution; where the GEOS simulation has much less sea salt percentage-wise in the smaller particles than was observed by PALMS. Model sensitivity experiments indicated that the simulated sea salt is better correlated with measurements when the sea salt emission is calculated based on the friction velocity and with consideration of sea surface temperature dependence than that parameterized with the 10-m winds.

Huisheng Bian et al.
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Huisheng Bian et al.
Huisheng Bian et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We address the GEOS-GOCART sea salt simulations constrained by NASA EVS ATom measurements, as well as those by MODIS and AERONET MAN. The study covers remote regions over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Oceans from near surface to ~ 12 km altitude and covers both summer and winter seasons. Important sea salt fields, e.g. mass mixing ratio, vertical distribution, size distribution, and marine aerosol AOD, as well as their relationship to relative humidity and emissions, are examined.
We address the GEOS-GOCART sea salt simulations constrained by NASA EVS ATom measurements, as...