Sensitivity of aerosol radiative effects to different mixing assumptions in the AEROPT 1.0 submodel of the EMAC atmospheric-chemistry–climate model
Abstract. The modelling of aerosol radiative forcing is a major cause of uncertainty in the assessment of global and regional atmospheric energy budgets and climate change. One reason is the strong dependence of the aerosol optical properties on the mixing state of aerosol components, such as absorbing black carbon and, predominantly scattering sulfates. Using a new column version of the aerosol optical properties and radiative-transfer code of the ECHAM/MESSy atmospheric-chemistry–climate model (EMAC), we study the radiative transfer applying various mixing states. The aerosol optics code builds on the AEROPT (AERosol OPTical properties) submodel, which assumes homogeneous internal mixing utilising the volume average refractive index mixing rule. We have extended the submodel to additionally account for external mixing, partial external mixing and multilayered particles. Furthermore, we have implemented the volume average dielectric constant and Maxwell Garnett mixing rule. We performed regional case studies considering columns over China, India and Africa, corroborating much stronger absorption by internal than external mixtures. Well-mixed aerosol is a good approximation for particles with a black-carbon core, whereas particles with black carbon at the surface absorb significantly less. Based on a model simulation for the year 2005, we calculate that the global aerosol direct radiative forcing for homogeneous internal mixing differs from that for external mixing by about 0.5 W m−2.