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A simple parameterization of aerosol emissions in RAMS




Letcher, Theodore, author
Cotton, William, advisor
Kreidenweis, Sonia, committee member
Ramirez, Jorge, committee member

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Throughout the past decade, a high degree of attention has been focused on determining the microphysical impact of anthropogenically enhanced concentrations of Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) on orographic snowfall in the mountains of the western United States. This area has garnered a lot of attention due to the implications this effect may have on local water resource distribution within the Region. Recent advances in computing power and the development of highly advanced microphysical schemes within numerical models have provided an estimation of the sensitivity that orographic snowfall has to changes in atmospheric CCN concentrations. However, what is still lacking is a coupling between these advanced microphysical schemes and a real-world representation of CCN sources. Previously, an attempt to representation the heterogeneous evolution of aerosol was made by coupling three-dimensional aerosol output from the WRF Chemistry model to the Colorado State University (CSU) Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) (Ward et al. 2011). The biggest problem associated with this scheme was the computational expense. In fact, the computational expense associated with this scheme was so high, that it was prohibitive for simulations with fine enough resolution to accurately represent microphysical processes. To improve upon this method, a new parameterization for aerosol emission was developed in such a way that it was fully contained within RAMS. Several assumptions went into generating a computationally efficient aerosol emissions parameterization in RAMS. The most notable assumption was the decision to neglect the chemical processes in formed in the formation of Secondary Aerosol (SA), and instead treat SA as primary aerosol via short-term WRF-CHEM simulations. While, SA makes up a substantial portion of the total aerosol burden (much of which is made up of organic material), the representation of this process is highly complex and highly expensive within a numerical model. Furthermore, SA formation is greatly reduced during the winter months due to the lack of naturally produced organic VOC's. Because of these reasons, it was felt that neglecting SOA within the model was the best course of action. The actual parameterization uses a prescribed source map to add aerosol to the model at two vertical levels that surround an arbitrary height decided by the user. To best represent the real-world, the WRF Chemistry model was run using the National Emissions Inventory (NEI2005) to represent anthropogenic emissions and the Model Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature (MEGAN) to represent natural contributions to aerosol. WRF Chemistry was run for one hour, after which the aerosol output along with the hygroscopicity parameter (κ) were saved into a data file that had the capacity to be interpolated to an arbitrary grid used in RAMS. The comparison of this parameterization to observations collected at Mesa Verde National Park (MVNP) during the Inhibition of Snowfall from Pollution Aerosol (ISPA-III) field campaign yielded promising results. The model was able to simulate the variability in near surface aerosol concentration with reasonable accuracy, though with a general low bias. Furthermore, this model compared much better to the observations than did the WRF Chemistry model using a fraction of the computational expense. This emissions scheme was able to show reasonable solutions regarding the aerosol concentrations and can therefore be used to provide an estimate of the seasonal impact of increased CCN on water resources in Western Colorado with relatively low computational expense.


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