Description and performance of a sectional aerosol microphysical model in the Community Earth System Model (CESM2)
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Description and performance of a sectional aerosol microphysical model in the Community Earth System Model (CESM2)

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  • Journal Title:
    Geoscientific Model Development
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    We implemented the Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmospheres (CARMA) in both the high- and low-top model versions of the Community Earth System Model Version 2 (CESM2). CARMA is a sectional microphysical model, which we use for aerosol in both the troposphere and stratosphere. CARMA is fully coupled to chemistry, clouds, radiation, and transport routines in CESM2. This development enables the comparison of simulations with a sectional (CARMA) and a modal (MAM4) aerosol microphysical model in the same modeling framework. The new implementation of CARMA has been adopted from previous work, with some additions that align with the current CESM2 Modal Aerosol Model (MAM4) implementation. The main updates include an interactive secondary organic aerosol description in CARMA, using the volatility basis set (VBS) approach, updated wet removal, and the use of transient emissions of aerosols and trace gases. In addition, we implemented an alternative aerosol nucleation scheme in CARMA, which is also used in MAM4. Detailed comparisons of stratospheric aerosol properties after the Mount Pinatubo eruption reveal the importance of prescribing sulfur injections in a larger region rather than in a single column to better represent the observed evolution of aerosols. Both CARMA and MAM4 in CESM2 are able to represent stratospheric and tropospheric aerosol properties reasonably well when compared to observations. Several differences in the performance of the two aerosol models show, in general, an improved representation of aerosols when using the sectional aerosol model in CESM2. These include a better representation of the aerosol size distribution after the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption in CARMA compared to MAM4. MAM4 produces on average smaller aerosols and less removal than CARMA, which results in a larger total mass. Both CARMA and MAM4 reproduce the stratospheric aerosol optical depth (AOD) within the error bar of the observations between 2001 and 2020, except for recent larger volcanic eruptions that are overestimated by both model configurations. The CARMA background surface area density and aerosol size distribution in the stratosphere and troposphere compare well to observations, with some underestimation of the Aitken-mode size range. MAM4 shows shortcomings in reproducing coarse-mode aerosol distributions in the stratosphere and troposphere. This work outlines additional development needs for CESM2 CARMA to improve the model compared to observations in both the troposphere and stratosphere.
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    Geoscientific Model Development, 16(21), 6087-6125
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    CC BY
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