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Department of Atmospheric Science

Tues., Mar. 12, 3:10 pm, EN6085

Aerosol evolution in diluting smoke plumes: Should we be thinking more like cloud researches?

Dr. Jeffrey R. Pierce

Colorado State University


Biomass burning (wildfires etc.) emits smoke particles (black carbon and primary organic aerosol) and precursor vapors to the atmosphere that chemically and physically age in the atmosphere. I will present a theoretical study (really a glorified thought experiment) that explores the potential relationships between plume size, dilution rate, and background-aerosol entrainment on smoke-particle mass loading, size, and climate-relevant properties. Our calculations show that plume size, dilution, and environmental conditions may strongly influence smoke aging. There are similarities between these results of aerosol microphysics in diluting smoke plumes to droplet microphysics in clouds that I will discuss.

Finally, because aerosol evolution within real smoke plumes is different than when smoke is mixed instantly across the coarse grid boxes in global/regional models, we are developing sub-grid plume microphysics parameterizations (analogous to convective-cloud schemes coarse-grid models). I show first results about how a sub-grid plume parameterization for in-plume smoke processing impacts global radiative forcing estimates from biomass burning smoke

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University of Wyoming,

Atmospheric Science,

EN 6034

Dept. 3038

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307)766-3245


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