Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 12297-12316, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
08 Dec 2011
A continuous spectral aerosol-droplet microphysics model
Z. J. Lebo1 and J. H. Seinfeld1,2 1Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, 91125, CA, USA
2Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, 91125, CA, USA
Abstract. A two-dimensional (2-D) continuous spectral aerosol-droplet microphysics model is presented and implemented into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model for large-eddy simulations (LES) of warm clouds. Activation and regeneration of aerosols are treated explicitly in the calculation of condensation/evaporation. The model includes a 2-D spectrum that encompasses wet aerosol particles (i.e., haze droplets), cloud droplets, and drizzle droplets in a continuous and consistent manner and allows for the explicit tracking of aerosol size within cloud droplets due to collision-coalescence. The system of differential equations describing condensation/evaporation (i.e., mass conservation and energy conservation) is solved simultaneously within each grid cell. The model is demonstrated by simulating a marine stratocumulus deck for two different aerosol loadings (100 and 500 cm−3), and comparison with the more traditional microphysics modeling approaches (both 1-D bin and bulk schemes) is evaluated. The simulations suggest that in a 1-D bin microphysics scheme, without regeneration, too few particles are produced and hence the mode of the droplet size spectrum occurs at a larger size relative to the 2-D bin model results. Moreover, with regeneration, the 1-D scheme produces too many small droplets and thus shifts the mode toward smaller sizes. These large shifts in the droplet size distribution can potentially have significant effects on the efficiency of the collision-coalescence process, fall speeds, and ultimately precipitation.

Citation: Lebo, Z. J. and Seinfeld, J. H.: A continuous spectral aerosol-droplet microphysics model, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 12297-12316,, 2011.
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