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A One-Dimensional Model Describing Aerosol Formation and Evolution in the Stratosphere: II. Sensitivity Studies and Comparison with Observations

Owen B. ToonSpace Science Division, NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035

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R. P. TurcoR & D Associates, Marine Del Rey, California 90291

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P. HamillSpace Science Division, NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035

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C. S. KiangNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado 80303

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R. C. WhittenSpace Science Division, NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035

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Abstract

We have performed sensitivity tests on a one-dimensional physical-chemical model of the unperturbed stratospheric aerosols and have compared model calculations with observations. The sensitivity tests and comparisons with observations suggest that coagulation controls the particle number mixing ratio, although the number of condensation nuclei at the tropopause and the diffusion coefficient at high altitudes are also important. The sulfate mass and large particle number (r > 0.15 µm) mixing ratios are controlled by growth, sedimentation, evaporation at high altitudes and washout below the tropopause. The sulfur gas source strength and the aerosol residence time are much more important than the supply of condensation nuclei in establishing mass and large particle concentrations. The particle size is also controlled mainly by gas supply and residence time. OCS diffusion (not SO2diffusion) dominates the production of stratospheric H2SO4 particles during unperturbed times, although direct injection of SO2 into the stratosphere could be significant if it normally occurs regularly by some transport mechanism. We suggest a number of in-situ observations of the aerosols and laboratory measurements of aerosol parameters that can provide further information about the physics and chemistry of the stratosphere and the aerosols found there.

Abstract

We have performed sensitivity tests on a one-dimensional physical-chemical model of the unperturbed stratospheric aerosols and have compared model calculations with observations. The sensitivity tests and comparisons with observations suggest that coagulation controls the particle number mixing ratio, although the number of condensation nuclei at the tropopause and the diffusion coefficient at high altitudes are also important. The sulfate mass and large particle number (r > 0.15 µm) mixing ratios are controlled by growth, sedimentation, evaporation at high altitudes and washout below the tropopause. The sulfur gas source strength and the aerosol residence time are much more important than the supply of condensation nuclei in establishing mass and large particle concentrations. The particle size is also controlled mainly by gas supply and residence time. OCS diffusion (not SO2diffusion) dominates the production of stratospheric H2SO4 particles during unperturbed times, although direct injection of SO2 into the stratosphere could be significant if it normally occurs regularly by some transport mechanism. We suggest a number of in-situ observations of the aerosols and laboratory measurements of aerosol parameters that can provide further information about the physics and chemistry of the stratosphere and the aerosols found there.

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