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Colloquium

Department of Atmospheric Science

Tues., Nov. 6, 3:10 pm, EN6085

Interactions between solar radiation and black carbon aerosol: From atmosphere to surface

Dr. Cenlin He

NCAR/ASP

Abstract

Black carbon (BC, also known as soot), the most important light-absorbing aerosol, has been identified as the second most significant anthropogenic contributor to global warming in the current atmosphere. It not only warms the atmosphere by strongly absorbing solar radiation, but also accelerates snow/ice melting by substantially reducing snow/ice albedo. Although considerable scientific advances have been made in understanding and quantifying the BC radiative effects, current estimates are still subject to large uncertainties. This study seeks to improve the understanding and reduce the uncertainty from the perspective of BC-radiation interactions in the atmosphere and snowpack after deposition. Specifically, (1) we develop a BC aging-optics model to account for the evolution of realistic and complex BC structures during atmospheric aging and associated impacts on radiative properties, which compares well with laboratory measurements; (2) we developed a stochastic aerosol-snow albedo model that explicitly resolves multiple aerosols internally/externally mixed with various shapes of snow grains, which is used to quantify the effects of aerosol deposition on snow albedo. Moreover, for application in climate models, we for the first time develop a set of parameterizations for BC-snow-radiation interactions, concurrently accounting for the impact of snow grain shape and aerosol-snow mixing state. The parameterizations have been successfully implemented and evaluated in the snow model embedded in a widely-used land surface/climate model (CLM/CESM). Important radiative effects associated with the BC-radiation interactions in the atmosphere and snowpack will also be discussed.


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