Modeling the evolution of aerosol particles in a ship plume using PartMC-MOSAIC

J. Tian, N. Riemer, M. West, L. Pfaffenberger, H. Schlager, A. Petzold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates the evolution of ship-emitted aerosol particles using the stochastic particle-resolved model PartMC-MOSAIC (Particle Monte Carlo model-Model for Simulating Aerosol Interactions and Chemistry). Comparisons of our results with observations from the QUANTIFY (Quantifying the Climate Impact of Global and European Transport Systems) study in 2007 in the English Channel and the Gulf of Biscay showed that the model was able to reproduce the observed evolution of total number concentration and the vanishing of the nucleation mode consisting of sulfate particles. Further process analysis revealed that during the first hour after emission, dilution reduced the total number concentration by four orders of magnitude, while coagulation reduced it by an additional order of magnitude. Neglecting coagulation resulted in an overprediction of more than one order of magnitude in the number concentration of particles smaller than 40 nm at a plume age of 100 s. Coagulation also significantly altered the mixing state of the particles, leading to a continuum of internal mixtures of sulfate and black carbon. The impact on cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations depended on the supersaturation thresholdSat which CCN activity was evaluated. For the base case conditions, characterized by a low formation rate of secondary aerosol species, neglecting coagulation, but simulating condensation, led to an underestimation of CCN concentrations of about 37% forSCombining double low line 0.3% at the end of the 14-h simulation. In contrast, for supersaturations higher than 0.7%, neglecting coagulation resulted in an overestimation of CCN concentration, about 75% forSCombining double low line 1%. ForSlower than 0.2% the differences between simulations including coagulation and neglecting coagulation were negligible. Neglecting condensation, but simulating coagulation did not impact the CCN concentrations below 0.2% and resulted in an underestimation of CCN concentrations for larger supersaturations, e.g., 18% forSCombining double low line 0.6%. We also explored the role of nucleation for the CCN concentrations in the ship plume. For the base case the impact of nucleation on CCN concentrations was limited, but for a sensitivity case with higher formation rates of secondary aerosol over several hours, the CCN concentrations increased by an order of magnitude for supersaturation thresholds above 0.3%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5327-5347
Number of pages21
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 3 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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