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Modelling black carbon absorption of solar radiation: combining external and internal mixing assumptions

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      <p><strong>Abstract.</strong> An accurate simulation of the absorption properties is key for assessing the radiative effects of aerosol on meteorology and climate. The representation of how chemical species are mixed inside the particles (the mixing state) is one of the major uncertainty factors in the assessment of these effects. Here we compare aerosol optical properties simulations over Europe and North America, coordinated in the framework of the third phase of the Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative (AQMEII), to 1 year of AERONET sunphotometer retrievals, in an attempt to identify a mixing state representation that better reproduces the observed single scattering albedo and its spectral variation. We use a single post-processing tool (FlexAOD) to derive aerosol optical properties from simulated aerosol speciation profiles, and focus on the absorption enhancement of black carbon when it is internally mixed with more scattering material, discarding from the analysis scenes dominated by dust.</p> <p>We found that the single scattering albedo at 440<span class="thinspace"></span>nm (<span class="inline-formula"><i>ω</i><sub>0,440</sub>)</span> is on average overestimated (underestimated) by 3–5<span class="thinspace"></span>% when external (core-shell internal) mixing of particles<span id="page182"/> is assumed, a bias comparable in magnitude with the typical variability of the quantity. The (unphysical) homogeneous internal mixing assumption underestimates <span class="inline-formula"><i>ω</i><sub>0,440</sub></span> by <span class="inline-formula">∼14</span><span class="thinspace"></span>%. The combination of external and core-shell configurations (partial internal mixing), parameterized using a simplified function of air mass aging, reduces the <span class="inline-formula"><i>ω</i><sub>0,440</sub></span> bias to <span class="inline-formula"><math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML" id="M5" display="inline" overflow="scroll" dspmath="mathml"><mrow><mo>-</mo><mn mathvariant="normal">1</mn><mo>/</mo><mo>-</mo><mn mathvariant="normal">3</mn></mrow></math><span><svg:svg xmlns:svg="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" width="39pt" height="14pt" class="svg-formula" dspmath="mathimg" md5hash="ed67d70e5b0265304da1b69b819dd11d"><svg:image xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="acp-19-181-2019-ie00001.svg" width="39pt" height="14pt" src="acp-19-181-2019-ie00001.png"/></svg:svg></span></span><span class="thinspace"></span>%. The black carbon absorption enhancement (<span class="inline-formula"><i>E</i><sub>abs</sub>)</span> in core-shell with respect to the externally mixed state is in the range 1.8–2.5, which is above the currently most accepted upper limit of <span class="inline-formula">∼1.5</span>. The partial internal mixing reduces <span class="inline-formula"><i>E</i><sub>abs</sub></span> to values more consistent with this limit. However, the spectral dependence of the absorption is not well reproduced, and the absorption Ångström exponent AAE<span class="inline-formula"><math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML" id="M9" display="inline" overflow="scroll" dspmath="mathml"><mrow><msubsup><mi/><mn mathvariant="normal">675</mn><mn mathvariant="normal">440</mn></msubsup></mrow></math><span><svg:svg xmlns:svg="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" width="16pt" height="17pt" class="svg-formula" dspmath="mathimg" md5hash="f40632cc1b94d2fa6ba42353b246d109"><svg:image xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="acp-19-181-2019-ie00002.svg" width="16pt" height="17pt" src="acp-19-181-2019-ie00002.png"/></svg:svg></span></span> is overestimated by 70–120<span class="thinspace"></span>%. Further testing against more comprehensive campaign data, including a full characterization of the aerosol profile in terms of chemical speciation, mixing state, and related optical properties, would help in putting a better constraint on these calculations.</p>

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
            Atmos. Chem. Phys.
            Copernicus GmbH
            1680-7324
            2019
            January 07 2019
            : 19
            : 1
            : 181-204
            10.5194/acp-19-181-2019
            © 2019

            https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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