04 Jul 2023
 | 04 Jul 2023

Impacts of spatial heterogeneity of anthropogenic aerosol emissions in a regionally-refined global aerosol-climate model

Taufiq Hassan, Kai Zhang, Jianfeng Li, Balwinder Singh, Shixuan Zhang, Hailong Wang, and Po-Lun Ma

Abstract. Emissions of anthropogenic aerosol and their precursors are often prescribed in global aerosol models. Most of these emissions are spatially heterogeneous at model grid scales. When remapped from low-resolution data, the spatial heterogeneity in emissions can be lost, leading to large errors in the simulation. It can also cause the conservation problem if non-conservative remapping is used. The default anthropogenic emission treatment in Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) is subject to both problems. In this study, we introduce a revised emission treatment for the E3SM atmosphere model (EAM) that ensures conservation of mass fluxes and preserves the original emission heterogeneity at the model-resolved grid scale. We assess the error estimates associated with the default emission treatment and the impact of improved heterogeneity and mass conservation in both globally uniform standard-resolution (~165 km) and regionally-refined high-resolution (~42 km) simulations. The default treatment incurs significant errors near surface, particularly over sharp emission gradient zones. Much larger errors are observed in high-resolution simulations. It substantially underestimates the aerosol burden, surface concentration, and aerosol sources over highly polluted regions, while overestimates these quantities over less-polluted adjacent areas. Large errors can persist at higher elevation for daily mean estimates, which can affect aerosol extinction profiles and aerosol optical depth (AOD). We find that the revised treatment significantly improves the accuracy of the aerosol emissions from surface and elevated sources near sharp spatial gradient regions, with significant improvement in the spatial heterogeneity and variability of simulated surface concentration in high-resolution simulations. In the next-generation E3SM running at convection-permitting scales where the resolved spatial heterogeneity is significantly increased, the revised emission treatment is expected to be better represent the aerosol emissions as well as their lifecycle and impacts on climate.

Taufiq Hassan, Kai Zhang, Jianfeng Li, Balwinder Singh, Shixuan Zhang, Hailong Wang, and Po-Lun Ma

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1055', Anonymous Referee #1, 29 Nov 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Taufiq Hassan, 10 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1055', Anonymous Referee #2, 31 Dec 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Taufiq Hassan, 10 Feb 2024
  • EC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1055', Martine Michou, 14 Feb 2024
Taufiq Hassan, Kai Zhang, Jianfeng Li, Balwinder Singh, Shixuan Zhang, Hailong Wang, and Po-Lun Ma

Data sets

EAMv2 anthropogenic aerosol emissions data in model-native spectral-element grid Taufiq Hassan and Kai Zhang

ggen: Python package for generating grid meshes and performing conservative remapping Taufiq Hassan

Model code and software

Energy Exascale Earth System Model v2.0 E3SM Project, DOE

Source code for E3SMv2 improved emission treatment Taufiq Hassan, Kai Zhang and Balwinder Singh

Taufiq Hassan, Kai Zhang, Jianfeng Li, Balwinder Singh, Shixuan Zhang, Hailong Wang, and Po-Lun Ma


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Short summary
Anthropogenic aerosol emissions are essential part of the global aerosol models. Significant errors can exist from the loss of emission heterogeneity. We introduced an emission treatment that significantly improved aerosol emission heterogeneity in high-resolution model simulations, with improvements in simulated aerosol surface concentrations. The emission treatment will provide a more accurate representation of aerosol emissions and their effects on climate.