Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Development and technical paper
01 Mar 2013
Development and technical paper |  | 01 Mar 2013

Development of a parameterization of black carbon aging for use in general circulation models

N. Oshima and M. Koike

Abstract. A parameterization of black carbon (BC) aging in the atmosphere is developed for use in general circulation models (GCMs) that separately treat hydrophobic BC and hydrophilic BC modes but do not explicitly calculate the aging processes of BC. The rate of BC aging is expressed as the conversion rate from hydrophobic BC to hydrophilic BC modes (i.e., inverse of the e-folding time of the conversion, 1/τBC). In this study, the conversion rates are estimated using results of detailed calculations by a size and mixing state resolved aerosol box model with numerous initial conditions. We introduce a new concept, the hydrophobic-BC-mass-normalized coating rate (VBC), defined as the rate of increase of the mass concentration of condensed materials on hydrophobic BC normalized by the hydrophobic BC mass concentration. Although the conversion rate largely varies depending on the atmospheric conditions and the concentrations of chemical species, we find that the variations of the conversion rate are generally expressed well by a unique function of VBC for given lognormal size distributions of hydrophobic BC. The parameterized conversion rate is expressed as a function of VBC, which enables the representation of diurnal and seasonal variations of the BC aging rate and its spatial differences in polluted and clean air, while other widely used constant conversion rates cannot. Application of our newly developed parameterization to GCMs will provide more reliable estimates of the spatial distribution of BC and its radiative effects at regional and global scales.