Uncertainties of simulated aerosol optical properties induced by assumptions on aerosol physical and chemical properties: An AQMEII-2 perspective
G Curci ; C Hogrefe ; R Bianconi ; et al. ; - ASI Sponsor
Aug - 2015
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2014.09.009

journal : Atmospheric Environment

Volume : 115 ; Issue : August 2015
type: Article Journal

The calculation of aerosol optical properties from aerosol mass is a process subject to uncertainty related to necessary assumptions on the treatment of the chemical species mixing state, density, refractive index, and hygroscopic growth. In the framework of the AQMEII-2 model intercomparison, we used the bulk mass profiles of aerosol chemical species sampled over the locations of AERONET stations across Europe and North America to calculate the aerosol optical properties under a range of common assumptions for all models. Several simulations with parameters perturbed within a range of observed values are carried out for July 2010 and compared in order to infer the assumptions that have the largest impact on the calculated aerosol optical properties. We calculate that the most important factor of uncertainty is the assumption about the mixing state, for which we estimate an uncertainty of 30–35% on the simulated aerosol optical depth (AOD) and single scattering albedo (SSA). The choice of the core composition in the core–shell representation is of minor importance for calculation of AOD, while it is critical for the SSA. The uncertainty introduced by the choice of mixing state choice on the calculation of the asymmetry parameter is the order of 10%. Other factors of uncertainty tested here have a maximum average impact of 10% each on calculated AOD, and an impact of a few percent on SSA and g. It is thus recommended to focus further research on a more accurate representation of the aerosol mixing state in models, in order to have a less uncertain simulation of the related optical properties.

keywords : Aerosol; Optical depth; Optical properties; Radiative forcing; Mixing state

Notes : G. Curci and P. Tuccella were supported by the Italian SpaceAgency (ASI) in the frame of PRIMES project (contract n. I/017/11/0).