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Title: Cloud cycling, scavenging and aerosol vertical profiles : process sensitivity and observational constraints
Author: Kipling, Zak
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The effects of aerosol in the atmosphere account for some of the largest uncertainties in estimates of the human impact on climate. These effects depend not only on the total mass of aerosol, but also its size distribution, mixing state and vertical profile. Previous studies have suggested that both the size distribution and mixing state of aerosol may be strongly influenced by repeated cycling through non-precipitating cloud. The extent of this process is assessed in the HadGEM3–UKCA model; although fewer cycles are seen for all aerosol than in previous studies, the figure varies considerably between aerosol types. The role of scavenging by precipitating cloud is also considered, and several approaches to increasing the physical realism of its representation are considered. In particular, coupling convective scavenging into the convective transport scheme is shown to provide significant benefits over an operator-split approach (which underestimates removal and allows excess aerosol to reach the upper troposphere and be transported to remote regions). To evaluate the alternative convective scavenging schemes, a method is developed for carrying out a pointwise evaluation against vertically-resolved in-situ observations from large-scale aircraft campaigns, based on nudging and flight-track sampling in the model. It is demonstrated that this approach can help to constrain the choice between different model configurations with a degree of statistical confidence. Finally, the processes controlling the vertical profile of aerosol are investigated using a series of model-based sensitivity tests, along with the extent to which these processes can account for the large diversity in vertical profiles seen amongst current models. For mass profiles and number profiles of large particles (greater than about 100nm dry diameter), removal and secondary production processes are shown to be most important; for number profiles of smaller particles, microphysical processes are shown to become increasingly dominant.
Supervisor: Stier, Philip ; Johnson, Colin Sponsor: NERC ; Met Office
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Planetary physics ; Atmospheric Physics ; Aerosol ; Cloud