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Verification of a global aerosol model using a 3D particle-resolved model (WRF-PartMC)

Matthew West, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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This research aims to quantify key uncertainties associated with aerosol representations in state-of-the-art global climate models. Aerosol particles influence the large-scale dynamics of the atmosphere and climate because they interact with solar radiation, both directly by scattering and absorbing light, and indirectly by acting as cloud condensation nuclei. Due to computational constraints, the model representations of aerosol processes in global climate models are highly simplified, and so far the verification to benchmark models has been lacking so that the uncertainties introduced by the simplifying assumptions remain unknown. The objective of this project is to benchmark the aerosol component (MAM4) of the next-generation Department of Energy Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy earth system model. The benchmarking will be done with our new ultra-high-detail spatially-resolved and particle-resolved aerosol model WRF-PartMC. The benchmark WRF-PartMC model is compute-, memory- and communication-intensive. However, the unique capabilities of the Blue Waters system allow for these computational difficulties to be overcome. Blue Waters is an appropriate architecture for this problem because of the need for tens of thousands of cores to simulate a large domain, a fast interconnect for inter-process particle transport, and large memory per core. Blue Waters' compute power and large scale will enable the use of this ultra-high-resolution model for global-scale aerosol model verification.