The ability of the Weather Research and Forecasting model with chemistry (WRF-Chem) version 3.7 and the Community Atmosphere Model version 5.3 (CAM5) in simulating profiles of aerosol properties is quantified using extensive in situ and remote sensing measurements from the Two Column Aerosol Project (TCAP) conducted during July of 2012. TCAP was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program and was designed to obtain observations within two atmospheric columns; one fixed over Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the other several hundred kilometers over the ocean. The performance is quantified using most of the available aircraft and surface measurements during July, and two days are examined in more detail to identify the processes responsible for the observed aerosol layers. The higher resolution WRF-Chem model produced more aerosol mass in the free troposphere than the coarser resolution CAM5 model so that the fraction of aerosol optical thickness above the residual layer from WRF-Chem was more consistent with lidar measurements. We found that the free troposphere layers are likely due to mean vertical motions associated with synoptic-scale convergence that lifts aerosols from the boundary layer. The vertical displacement and the time period associated with upward transport in the troposphere depend on the strength of the synoptic system and whether relatively high boundary layer aerosol concentrations are present where convergence occurs. While a parameterization of subgrid scale convective clouds applied in WRF-Chem modulated the concentrations of aerosols aloft, it did not significantly change the overall altitude and depth of the layers.
Model Representations of Aerosol Layers Transported from North America over the Atlantic Ocean during the Two-Column Aerosol
Fast JD, LK Berg, K Zhang, RC Easter, Jr, RA Ferrare, J Hair, CA Hostetler, Y Liu, I Ortega, A Sedlacek, JE Shilling, MKB Shrivastava, SR Springston, JM Tomlinson, RM Volkamer, JM Wilson, RA Zaveri, and A Zelenyuk-Imre.2016."Model Representations of Aerosol Layers Transported from North America over the Atlantic Ocean during the Two-Column Aerosol Project."Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 121(16):9814-9848. doi:10.1002/2016JD025248