Model analysis of influences of aerosol mixing state upon its optical properties in East Asia

Research paper by Xiao Han, Meigen Zhang, Lingyun Zhu, Liren Xu

Indexed on: 18 Jun '13Published on: 18 Jun '13Published in: Advances in Atmospheric Sciences


The air quality model system RAMS (Regional Atmospheric Modeling System)-CMAQ (Models-3 Community Multi-scale Air Quality) coupled with an aerosol optical/radiative module was applied to investigate the impact of different aerosol mixing states (i.e., externally mixed, half externally and half internally mixed, and internally mixed) on radiative forcing in East Asia. The simulation results show that the aerosol optical depth (AOD) generally increased when the aerosol mixing state changed from externally mixed to internally mixed, while the single scattering albedo (SSA) decreased. Therefore, the scattering and absorption properties of aerosols can be significantly affected by the change of aerosol mixing states. Comparison of simulated and observed SSAs at five AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network) sites suggests that SSA could be better estimated by considering aerosol particles to be internally mixed. Model analysis indicates that the impact of aerosol mixing state upon aerosol direct radiative forcing (DRF) is complex. Generally, the cooling effect of aerosols over East Asia are enhanced in the northern part of East Asia (Northern China, Korean peninsula, and the surrounding area of Japan) and are reduced in the southern part of East Asia (Sichuan Basin and Southeast China) by internal mixing process, and the variation range can reach ±5 W m−2. The analysis shows that the internal mixing between inorganic salt and dust is likely the main reason that the cooling effect strengthens. Conversely, the internal mixture of anthropogenic aerosols, including sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, black carbon, and organic carbon, could obviously weaken the cooling effect.