Friday, September 30, 2016 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
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100F Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford St., Cambridge

Atmospheric & Environmental Chemistry Seminar

"Toward Improved Aerosol Simulations: Insights from a particle-resolved model" with Laura Fierce, NOAA Climate & Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow, Environmental and Climate Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Aerosol radiative properties depend on the size and chemical composition of individual particles, but particle-level characteristics are not fully resolved in global-scale models. In my talk, I will demonstrate through three examples how a particle-resolved model, although computationally too expensive for global-scale simulations, can be used to quantify error in and improve reduced aerosol schemes. First, I will describe the use of particle-resolved simulations to benchmark approximate aerosol representations, demonstrating that aerosol absorption is overestimated if diversity in particle composition is neglected. Second, I will discuss a process-level analysis to identify the variables that drive the evolution of particle CCN activation properties, demonstrating that 80-90% of variance in CCN-based aging timescales is explained by only a few independent variables. Finally, I will discuss the use of particle-resolved simulations as a tool for designing reduced aerosol schemes for global-scale simulations. I will introduce a reduced aerosol model based on the quadrature method of moments. By applying principles of maximum entropy, the quadrature-based model accurately reproduces CCN activity of the particle-resolved aerosol. This study is a first step toward a new aerosol simulation scheme that will track multivariate aerosol distributions with sufficient computational efficiency for reliable global-scale simulations.

Speaker Bio

Contact Name: 

Seb Eastham

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

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Phone: (617) 495-0368

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