Resuspension of Aerosol Particles from Evaporated Rain Drops to the Coarse Mode

Friday, December 18, 2015 - 08:45
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Precipitation scavenging (i.e., wet removal) has long been recognized as one of the major removal processes for tropospheric aerosol particles, and the dominant one for accumulation-mode size particles.  When rain drops evaporate, the aerosol material contained in drops is resuspended, and this process has received much less attention.  Unlike the resuspension from evaporated cloud droplets, the aerosol particles resuspended from evaporated rain drops have much larger sizes than most of the aerosol particles that acted as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), became cloud borne, and then were collected by rain drops, because each rain drop generally collects thousands of cloud droplets.  Here we present some aspects of this resuspension process obtained from modeling studies.  First, we investigate some details of the process using a simple drop-size resolved model of raindrop evaporation in sub-saturated air below cloud base. Using these results, we then investigate different treatments of this process in a global aerosol and climate model that employs a modal aerosol representation.  Compared to the model’s original treatment of this process in which rain-borne aerosol is resuspended to the mode that it came from with its original size, the new treatment that resuspends to the coarse mode produces notable reductions in global CCN concentrations, as well as sulfate, black carbon, and organic aerosol mass, because the resuspended aerosol particles have much shorter lifetimes due to their larger sizes.  Somewhat surprisingly, there are also notable reductions in coarse-mode sea salt and mineral dust burdens.  These species are resuspended to the coarse mode in both the original and new treatments, but these resuspended particles are fewer in number and larger in size in the new treatment.  This finding highlights some issues of the modal aerosol treatment for coarse mode particles.