Predicting global aerosol size distributions in general circulation models



[1] To better represent the indirect effect of aerosols on climate, a size-resolved simulation of aerosol microphysics, size distributions, number and mass concentrations has been incorporated into the GISS general circulation model (GCM). The TwO-Moment Aerosol Sectional (TOMAS) microphysics model used here conserves aerosol number as well as mass. It has high size resolution, 30 bins between 0.01 and 10 μm diameter. As a first application, a size-resolved simulation of sulfate has been performed. The model reproduces important features of the atmospheric aerosol such as number concentrations that increase with altitude and land-sea contrasts in aerosol number concentrations and size distributions. Comparisons with observations show that simulated size distributions are realistic and condensation nuclei (CN) concentrations agree with observations within about 25%. Predicted cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations are also in reasonable agreement with observations, although there are locations for which agreement would be improved by including other aerosol components such as sea salt and carbonaceous aerosols. Sensitivity scenarios show that uncertainties in nucleation and primary emissions from fossil fuels can have significant effects on predictions of CN and CCN concentrations.