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Constraining Aging Processes of Black Carbon in the Community Atmosphere Model Using Environmental Chamber Measurements

Wang, Yuan and Ma, Po-Lun and Peng, Jianfei and Zhang, Renyi and Jiang, Jonathan H. and Easter, Richard C. and Yung, Yuk L. (2018) Constraining Aging Processes of Black Carbon in the Community Atmosphere Model Using Environmental Chamber Measurements. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 10 (10). pp. 2514-2526. ISSN 1942-2466. PMCID PMC6472719. doi:10.1029/2018ms001387.

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The direct radiative forcing of black carbon aerosol (BC) on the Earth system remains unsettled, largely due to the uncertainty with physical properties of BC throughout their lifecycle. Here we show that ambient chamber measurements of BC properties provide a novel constraint on the crude BC aging representation in climate models. Observational evidence for significant absorption enhancement of BC can be reproduced when the aging processes in the four‐mode version of the Modal Aerosol Module (MAM4) aerosol scheme in the Community Atmosphere Model version 5 are calibrated by the recent in situ chamber measurements. An observation‐based scaling method is developed in the aging timescale calculation to alleviate the influence of biases in the simulated model chemical composition. Model sensitivity simulations suggest that the different monolayer settings in the BC aging parameterization of MAM4 can cause as large as 26% and 24% differences in BC burden and radiative forcing, respectively. We also find that an increase in coating materials (e.g., sulfate and secondary organic aerosols) reduces BC lifetime by increasing the hygroscopicity of the mixture but enhances its absorption, resulting in a net increase in BC direct radiative forcing. Our results suggest that accurate simulations of BC aging processes as well as other aerosol species are equally important in reducing the uncertainty of BC forcing estimation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Wang, Yuan0000-0001-6657-8401
Ma, Po-Lun0000-0003-3109-5316
Zhang, Renyi0000-0001-8708-3862
Jiang, Jonathan H.0000-0002-5929-8951
Easter, Richard C.0000-0002-8602-1464
Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:©2018. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Received 28 MAY 2018. Accepted 3 OCT 2018. Accepted article online 8 OCT 2018. Published online 23 OCT 2018. Y. Wang and J. H. Jiang appreciate the support by the NASA ROSES ACMAP and CCST programs and the support from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Y. Wang and Y. L. Yung appreciate the support by the NSF (award 1700727). P.‐L. Ma acknowledges the internal support from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which is operated for the Department of Energy by Battelle Memorial Institute under contract DE‐AC05‐76RL01830. The CESM source code can be obtained from All model and chamber experiment results are stored at our FTP server at California Institute of Technology and available upon request. Please contact Yuan Wang ( to access those data.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC05-76RL01830
Subject Keywords:black carbon; GCM; aging parameterization; environmental chamber; radiative forcing
Issue or Number:10
PubMed Central ID:PMC6472719
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181127-160003875
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Wang, Y., Ma, P.‐L., Peng, J., Zhang, R., Jiang, J. H., Easter, R. C., & Yung, Y. L. (2018). Constraining aging processes of black carbon in the Community Atmosphere Model using environmental chamber measurements. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 10, 2514–2526.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:91261
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:28 Nov 2018 19:28
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 03:39

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