A global model-measurement evaluation of particle light scattering coefficients at elevated relative humidity Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract. The uptake of water by atmospheric aerosols has a pronounced effect on particle light scattering properties which in turn are strongly dependent on the ambient relative humidity (RH). Earth system models need to account for the aerosol water uptake and its influence on light scattering in order to properly capture the overall radiative effects of aerosols. Here we present a comprehensive model-measurement evaluation of the particle light scattering enhancement factor f(RH), defined as the particle light scattering coefficient at elevated RH (here set to 85 %) divided by its dry value. The comparison uses simulations from 10 Earth system models and a global dataset of surface-based in situ measurements. In general, we find a large diversity in the magnitude of predicted f(RH) amongst the different models which can not be explained by the site types. There is strong indication that differences in the model parameterizations of hygroscopicity and perhaps mixing state are driving at least some of the observed diversity in simulated f(RH). An important finding is that the models show a significantly larger discrepancy with the observations if RHref = 0 % is chosen as the model reference RH compared to when RHref = 40 % is used. The multi-site average ratio between model outputs and measurements is 1.64 in the former case and 1.16 in the latter. The overestimation by the models is believed to originate from the hygroscopicity parameterizations at the lower RH range which may not implement all phenomena taking place (i.e. not fully dried particles and hysteresis effects). Our results emphasize the need to consider the measurement conditions in such comparisons and recognize that measurements referred to as dry may not be dry in model terms.;

publication date

  • January 20, 2020

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • October 15, 2021 3:02 AM

Full Author List

  • Burgos MA; Andrews EJ; Titos G; Benedetti A; Bian H; Buchard V; Curci G; Kirkevåg A; Kokkola H; Laakso A

author count

  • 24

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