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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 30 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 30 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Using a coupled LES-aerosol radiation model to investigate urban haze: Sensitivity to aerosol loading and meteorological conditions

Jessica Slater1, Juha Tonttila2, Gordon McFiggans1, Sami Romakkaniemi2, Thomas Kühn2,3, and Hugh Coe1 Jessica Slater et al.
  • 1Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Atmospheric Research Centre of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
  • 3Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland

Abstract. The aerosol-radiation-meteorological feedback loop is the process by which aerosols interact with solar radiation to influence boundary layer meteorology. Through this feedback, aerosols cause cooling of the surface, resulting in reduced buoyant turbulence, enhanced atmospheric stratification and suppressed boundary layer growth. These changes in meteorology result in the accumulation of aerosols in a shallow boundary layer, which can enhance the extent of aerosol-radiation interactions. The feedback effect is thought to be important during periods of high aerosol concentrations, for example during urban haze. However, direct quantification and isolation of the factors and processes affecting the feedback loop has thus far been limited to observations and low resolution modelling studies. The coupled LES-aerosol model, UCLALES-SALSA, allows for direct interpretation on the sensitivity of boundary layer dynamics to aerosol perturbations. In this work, UCLALES-SALSA has for the first time been explicitly set up to model the urban environment, including addition of an anthropogenic heat flux and treatment of heat storage terms, to examine the sensitivity of meteorology to the newly coupled aerosol-radiation scheme. We find that: a) Sensitivity of boundary layer dynamics in the model to initial meteorological conditions is extremely high, b) Simulations with high aerosol loading (220 μg/m3) compared to low aerosol loading (55 μg/m3) cause overall surface cooling and a reduction in sensible heat flux, turbulent kinetic energy and planetary boundary layer height for all three days examined and c) Initial meteorological conditions impact the vertical distribution of aerosols throughout the day.

Jessica Slater et al.

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Jessica Slater et al.

Jessica Slater et al.


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Latest update: 26 May 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The feedback effect between aerosol particles, radiation and meteorology reduces turbulent motion and results in increased surface aerosol concentrations during Beijing haze. Observational analysis and regional modelling studies have examined the feedback effect but these studies are limited. In this work we set up a high resolution model for the Beijing environment to examine the sensitivity of the aerosol feedback effect to initial meteorological conditions and aerosol loading.
The feedback effect between aerosol particles, radiation and meteorology reduces turbulent...