Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2472
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2472
14 Nov 2023
 | 14 Nov 2023

Modeling atmospheric brown carbon in the GISS ModelE Earth system model

Maegan A. DeLessio, Kostas Tsigaridis, Susanne E. Bauer, Jacek Chowdhary, and Gregory L. Schuster

Abstract. Brown carbon (BrC) is an absorbing organic aerosol, primarily emitted through biomass burning, that exhibits light absorption unique from both black carbon (BC) and other organic aerosols (OA). Despite many field and laboratory studies seeking to constrain BrC properties, the radiative forcing of BrC is still highly uncertain. To better understand it’s climate impact, we introduced BrC to the One-Moment Aerosol (OMA) module of the GISS ModelE Earth system model (ESM). We assessed ModelE sensitivity to primary BrC processed through a novel chemical aging scheme, as well as secondary BrC formed from biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs). Initial results show BrC typically contributes a top of the atmosphere (TOA) radiative effect of 0.04 W m-2. Sensitivity tests indicate that explicitly simulating BrC (separating it from other OA), including secondary BrC, and simulating chemical bleaching of BrC all contribute distinguishable radiative effects and should be accounted for in BrC schemes. This addition of prognostic BrC to ModelE allows for greater physical and chemical complexity in OA representation with no apparent trade-off in model performance as evaluation of ModelE aerosol optical depth, with and without the BrC scheme, against AERONET and MODIS retrieval data reveals similar skill in both cases. Thus, BrC should be explicitly simulated to allow for more physically based chemical composition, which is crucial for more detailed OA study like comparisons to in-situ measurement campaigns. We include additional recommendations for BrC representation within ESMs at the end of this paper.

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Maegan A. DeLessio, Kostas Tsigaridis, Susanne E. Bauer, Jacek Chowdhary, and Gregory L. Schuster

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2472', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Dec 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2472', Anonymous Referee #2, 27 Dec 2023
  • AC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2472', Maegan DeLessio, 14 Feb 2024

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2472', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Dec 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2472', Anonymous Referee #2, 27 Dec 2023
  • AC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2472', Maegan DeLessio, 14 Feb 2024
Maegan A. DeLessio, Kostas Tsigaridis, Susanne E. Bauer, Jacek Chowdhary, and Gregory L. Schuster

Data sets

Modeling atmospheric brown carbon in the GISS ModelE Earth system model Maegan A. DeLessio, Kostas Tsigaridis, Susanne E. Bauer, Jacek Chowdhary, Gregory L. Schuster https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8342620

Model code and software

Modeling atmospheric brown carbon in the GISS ModelE Earth system model Maegan A. DeLessio, Kostas Tsigaridis, Susanne E. Bauer, Jacek Chowdhary, Gregory L. Schuster https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8342620

Maegan A. DeLessio, Kostas Tsigaridis, Susanne E. Bauer, Jacek Chowdhary, and Gregory L. Schuster

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Short summary
This study presents the first explicit representation of brown carbon aerosols in the GISS ModelE Earth system model (ESM). Model sensitivity to a range of brown carbon parameters, as well as model performance compared to AERONET and MODIS retrievals of total aerosol properties, was assessed. General recommendations for incorporating brown carbon into ESMs are also included.