Scales of variability of black carbon plumes over the Pacific Ocean

Abstract

[1] Scales of spatial variability of black carbon (BC) aerosol plumes are quantified during the HIPPO aircraft campaign, which flew multiple missions from pole-to-pole over the Pacific ocean. During the first three missions of HIPPO, over 400 vertical profiles of BC concentrations were obtained using a Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2). In this work, a total of 100 plumes are identified and analyzed. Due to the nature of the HIPPO flight track, the plume length scale is defined along the slanted flight track, having both vertical and horizontal components. These plumes comprise 57% of the total BC mass measured and have a median scale of 113 km. An analysis of BC variability based on autocorrelation functions confirms that most of BC’s variability exists on scales similar to the majority of measured plume scales, with a range of 85–155 km. The plume scales are compared to an effective along-track global circulation model (GCM) resolution, which ranges from 20 km for low altitudes and steep ascents to 230 km for high altitudes and shallower ascents. The results suggest that plumes characterized predominantly by their horizontal variation at these scales are too small to be captured by GCMs running at resolutions currently suitable for climate simulations. Citation: Weigum, N. M., P. Stier, J. P. Schwarz, D. W. Fahey, and J. R. Spackman (2012), Scales of variability of black carbon plumes over the Pacific Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L15804, doi:10.1029/2012GL052127.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Weigum2012ScalesOV, title={Scales of variability of black carbon plumes over the Pacific Ocean}, author={N. M. Weigum and Philip Stier and Joshua P. Schwarz and David W. Fahey and J. Ryan Spackman}, year={2012} }