A Radiative Model for the Study of the Feedback Mechanism between Photolytic Aerosols and Solar Radiation


etd6.pdf (7.66 MB)
Downloads: 378

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Since the early 70's chemistry and transport models (ChTMs) have been proposed and improved. Tropospheric ChTMs for trace species are detailed numerical formulations intended to represent the atmospheric system as a whole, accounting for all the individual processes and phenomena that influence climate changes.

The development of computer resources and the retrieval of emission inventories and observational data of the species of interest have enhanced the model evolution towards three-dimensional global models that account for more complicated chemical mechanisms, wet and dry deposition phenomena, and interactions and feedback mechanisms between meteorology and atmospheric chemistry.

The purpose of this study is to ascertain the sensitivity of the solar radiative field in the atmosphere to absorption and scattering by aerosols. This effort is preliminary to the study of feedback mechanisms between photolytic processes that create and destroy aerosols and the radiation field itself.

In this study, a cloud of water-soluble aerosols, randomly distributed in space within hypothetical 1-cm cubes of atmosphere, is generated. A random radius is assigned to each aerosol according to a lognormal size distribution function. The radiative field characterization is analyzed using a Mie scattering code to determine the scattering phase function and the absorption and scattering coefficients of sulfate aerosols, and a Monte Carlo ray-trace code is used to evaluate the radiative exchange.

The ultimate goal of the effort is to create a tool to analyze the vertical distribution of absorption by aerosols in order to determine whether or not feedback between photolytic processes and the radiation field needs to be included in a Third Generation Chemistry and Transport model.



Monte Carlo ray-trace, photolytic aerosol