Articles | Volume 6, issue 11
14 Aug 2006
14 Aug 2006

A parameterization of size resolved below cloud scavenging of aerosols by rain

J. S. Henzing, D. J. L. Olivié, and P. F. J. van Velthoven

Abstract. A size dependent parameterization for the removal of aerosol particles by falling rain droplets is developed. Scavenging coefficients are calculated explicitly as a function of aerosol particle size and precipitation intensity including the full interaction of rain droplet size distribution and aerosol particles. The actual parameterization is a simple and accurate three-parameter fit through these pre-calculated scavenging coefficients. The parameterization is applied in the global chemistry transport model TM4 and the importance of below-cloud scavenging relative to other removal mechanisms is investigated for sea salt aerosol. For a full year run (year 2000), we find that below-cloud scavenging accounts for 12% of the total removal of super-micron aerosol. At mid-latitudes of both hemispheres the fractional contribution of below-cloud scavenging to the total removal of super-micron sea salt is about 30% with regional maxima exceeding 50%. Below-cloud scavenging reduces the global average super-micron aerosol lifetime from 2.47 to 2.16 days in our simulations. Despite large uncertainties in precipitation, relative humidity, and water uptake by aerosol particles, we conclude that below cloud scavenging is likely an important sink for super-micron sized sea salt aerosol particles that needs to be included in size-resolved aerosol models.

Final-revised paper