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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-846
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-846
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Nov 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).

Investigating processes that control the vertical distribution of aerosol in five subtropical marine stratocumulus regions – A sensitivity study using the climate model NorESM1-M

Lena Frey1,a, Frida A.-M. Bender1, and Gunilla Svensson1 Lena Frey et al.
  • 1Department of Meteorology and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • anow at: Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract. The vertical distribution of aerosols plays an important role in determining the effective radiative forcing from aerosol–radiation and aerosol–cloud interactions. Here, a number of processes controlling the vertical distribution of aerosol in five subtropical marine stratocumulus regions in the climate model NorESM1-M are investigated, with a focus on the total aerosol extinction. A comparison with satellite lidar data (CALIOP, Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization) shows that the model underestimates aerosol extinction throughout the troposphere, especially elevated aerosol layers in the two regions where they are seen in observations. It is found that the shape of the vertical aerosol distribution is largely determined by the aerosol emissions and removal processes in the model, primarily through the injection height, emitted particle size, and wet scavenging. In addition, the representation of vertical transport related to shallow convection and entrainment are found to be important, whereas alterations in aerosol optical properties and cloud microphysics parameterizations have smaller effects on the vertical aerosol extinction distribution. However, none of the alterations made are sufficient for reproducing the observed vertical distribution of aerosol extinction, neither in magnitude nor in shape. Interpolating the vertical levels of CALIOP to the corresponding model levels, leads to a better agreement in the boundary layer and highlights the importance of the vertical resolution.

Lena Frey et al.
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Short summary
We investigate the vertical distribution of aerosol in the climate model NorESM1-M in five regions of marine stratocumulus clouds. We analyze thereby the total aerosol extinction to facilitate a comparison with satellite data. We find that the model underestimates aerosol extinction throughout the troposphere, especially elevated aerosol layers. Further, we perform sensitivity experiments to identify processes which are most important for the vertical aerosol distribution in our model.
We investigate the vertical distribution of aerosol in the climate model NorESM1-M in five...
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