Development of aerosol activation in the double-moment Unified Model and evaluation with CLARIFY measurements

Hamish Gordon, Paul R. Field, Steven J. Abel, Paul Barrett, Keith Bower, Ian Crawford, Zhiqiang Cui, Daniel P. Grosvenor, Adrian A. Hill, Jonathan Taylor, Jonathan Wilkinson, Huihui Wu, Ken S. Carslaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Representing the number and mass of cloud and aerosol particles independently in a climate, weather prediction or air quality model is important in order to simulate aerosol direct and indirect effects on radiation balance. Here we introduce the first configuration of the UK Met Office Unified Model in which both cloud and aerosol particles have “double-moment” representations with prognostic number and mass. The GLObal Model of Aerosol Processes (GLOMAP) aerosol microphysics scheme, already used in the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model version 3 (HadGEM3) climate configuration, is coupled to the Cloud AeroSol Interacting Microphysics (CASIM) cloud microphysics scheme. We demonstrate the performance of the new configuration in high-resolution simulations of a case study defined from the CLARIFY aircraft campaign in 2017 near Ascension Island in the tropical southern Atlantic. We improve the physical basis of the activation scheme by representing the effect of existing cloud droplets on the activation of new aerosol, and we also discuss the effect of unresolved vertical velocities. We show that neglect of these two competing effects in previous studies led to compensating errors but realistic droplet concentrations. While these changes lead only to a modest improvement in model performance, they reinforce our confidence in the ability of the model microphysics code to simulate the aerosol–cloud microphysical interactions it was designed to represent. Capturing these interactions accurately is critical to simulating aerosol effects on climate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10997–11024
Number of pages28
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2020


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