Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
25 May 2022

A Diagnostics Package to Evaluate Aerosols in an Earth System Model with Field Campaign Measurements

Subtitle
The Earth system model aerosol-cloud diagnostics package version 1 uses aircraft, ship, and surface measurements to evaluate simulated aerosols.
Print / PDF
Powerpoint Slide
Image
Cool toned map showing different flight paths.
Science

Earth system model representations of aerosols and their interactions with clouds and radiation are subject to large uncertainties. Model simulations need to be evaluated against real-world measurements to ensure their fidelity in representing the observed properties. Existing climate model diagnostics packages are typically used for evaluating climatology, so a detailed evaluation toolkit for aerosol properties is needed. Researchers developed a new diagnostics package that specifically focuses on evaluating aerosol properties with aircraft, ship, and surface measurements. 

Impact

The Earth System Model Aerosol-Cloud Diagnostics (ESMAC Diags) package provides a range of diagnostics and metrics, including time series, diurnal cycles, mean aerosol size distribution, pie charts of aerosol composition, percentiles by height, percentiles by latitude, mean statistics of aerosol number concentration, and more. This allows researchers to quantify model performance in predicting aerosol number, size, composition, vertical distribution, spatial distribution (along ship or aircraft tracks), and new particle formation events. ESMAC Diags is continually extended to clouds and aerosol-cloud interactions and is being applied to evaluate the performances of newly developed physical components in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM).  

Summary

ESMAC Diags package is a Python-based open-source package to quantify the performance of the Department of Energy’s E3SM atmospheric model using Atmospheric Radiation Measurement user facility and U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research field campaign measurements. The first version of this diagnostics package focuses on the aerosol properties, including aerosol number, size distribution, chemical composition, and cloud condensation nuclei collected from surface, aircraft, and ship platforms needed to assess how well a model represents the aerosols across spatial and temporal scales. ESMAC Diags provides various types of diagnostics and metrics, including time series, diurnal cycles, mean aerosol size distribution, pie charts for aerosol composition, percentiles by height, percentiles by latitude, mean statistics of aerosol number concentration, and more. Currently, the diagnostics package includes six field campaigns over the Northeastern Atlantic, Continental U.S., Northeastern Pacific, and the Southern Ocean, respectively. The code structure is designed to be flexible and modular to allow for future extension to other field campaigns or the incorporation of additional datasets.

Point of Contact
Po-Lun Ma
Institution(s)
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Funding Program Area(s)
Publication
Earth System Model Aerosol–Cloud Diagnostics (ESMAC Diags) package, version 1: assessing E3SM aerosol predictions using aircraft, ship, and surface measurements
Tang, Shuaiqi, Jerome D. Fast, Kai Zhang, Joseph C. Hardin, Adam C. Varble, John E. Shilling, Fan Mei, Maria A. Zawadowicz, and Po-Lun Ma. 2022. “Earth System Model Aerosol–Cloud Diagnostics (Esmac Diags) Package, Version 1: Assessing E3Sm Aerosol Predictions Using Aircraft, Ship, And Surface Measurements”. Geoscientific Model Development 15 (10). Copernicus GmbH: 4055-4076. doi:10.5194/gmd-15-4055-2022.