Machine learning to predict the global distribution of aerosol mixing state metrics

Michael Hughes, John K. Kodros, Jeffrey R. Pierce, Matthew West, Nicole Riemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atmospheric aerosols are evolving mixtures of chemical species. In global climate models (GCMs), this "aerosol mixing state" is represented in a highly simplified manner. This can introduce errors in the estimates of climate-relevant aerosol properties, such as the concentration of cloud condensation nuclei. The goal for this study is to determine a global spatial distribution of aerosol mixing state with respect to hygroscopicity, as quantified by the mixing state metric χ. In this way, areas can be identified where the external or internal mixture assumption is more appropriate. We used the output of a large ensemble of particle-resolved box model simulations in conjunction with machine learning techniques to train a model of the mixing state metric c. This lower-order model for χ uses as inputs only variables known to GCMs, enabling us to create a global map of χ based on GCM data. We found that χ varied between 20% and nearly 100%, and we quantified how this depended on particle diameter, location, and time of the year. This framework demonstrates how machine learning can be applied to bridge the gap between detailed process modeling and a large-scale climate model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2018


  • Aerosol modeling
  • Machine learning
  • Mixing state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Machine learning to predict the global distribution of aerosol mixing state metrics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this