Particle-Resolved Simulations for Quantifying Black Carbon Climate Impact and Model Uncertainty

EPA Grant Number: R835042
Title: Particle-Resolved Simulations for Quantifying Black Carbon Climate Impact and Model Uncertainty
Investigators: Riemer, Nicole , West, Matthew
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2014 (Extended to May 31, 2015)
Project Amount: $449,902
RFA: Black Carbon's Role In Global To Local Scale Climate And Air Quality (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Climate Change , Air


This project will use the new particle-resolved aerosol model PartMC-MOSAIC to address the following objectives: (1) Calculate key quantities for modeling black carbon effects in global and regional climate simulations (including the aging timescale, optical properties, and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) number). (2) Quantify the uncertainty in these quantities in climate predictions resulting from inadequate representation of black carbon aerosol mixing state in existing models; and (3) Provide a testbed for the evaluation of proposed new approximate aerosol modeling algorithms.


We will achieve this by constructing a suite of eight case studies for the Lagrangian trajectory-model PartMC-MOSAIC, representative of different geographical locations and environments. We will validate the PartMC-MOSAIC model in three of these scenarios against experimental data from recent field campaigns and compute key quantities in each case for black carbon impact, i.e. the aging timescale, single-scattering albedo, extinction effciency, asymmetry parameter, and CCN number, including the sensitivity of these with respect to the time of year and emission pattern. We will furthermore compute the error in these key quantities due to simplifying assumptions in traditional aerosol models and formulate numerical parameter estimates and usage recommendations for global and regional climate models.

Expected Results:

The results will help improve regional and global climate models resulting in a more accurate representation of black carbon in these models. We will gain a better understanding of the processes that lead to black carbon aging and the uncertainties and the errors due to simplifed mixing state representations in black carbon aging timescales, optical properties, and CCN properties. The project will also lead to a testbed of benchmark case studies for evaluating approximate aerosol models in the future.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 24 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 9 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

black carbon aging, particle-resolved model, mixing state,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • Final Report