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Published July 26, 2000 | public
Journal Article

Formation and cycling of aerosols in the global troposphere


Aerosols are formed, evolve, and are eventually removed within the general circulation of the atmosphere. The characteristic time of many of the microphysical aerosol processes is days up to several weeks, hence longer than the residence time of the aerosol within a typical atmospheric compartment (e.g. the marine boundary layer, the free troposphere, etc.). Hence, to understand aerosol properties, one cannot confine the discussion to such compartments, but one needs to view aerosol microphysical phenomena within the context of atmospheric dynamics that connects those compartments. This paper attempts to present an integrated microphysical and dynamical picture of the global tropospheric aerosol system. It does so by reviewing the microphysical processes and those elements of the general circulation that determine the size distribution and chemical composition of the aerosol, and by implementing both types of processes in a diagnostic model, in a 3-D global Chemical Transport Model, and in a General Circulation Model. Initial results are presented regarding the formation, transformation, and cycling of aerosols within the global troposphere.

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