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In their role as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), aerosols are linked to, and often control hydrologic cycle and therefore major fluxes of the Earth's radiation balance. Clouds, in turn, affect the levels and geographical distribution of Aerosols by removing them in precipitation and by driving the general circulation.

Aerosols are formed, evolve, and are eventually removed within the general circulation of the atmosphere. The characteristic time of many of the microphysical aerosol processes ranges from days up to several weeks, hence longer than the residence time of the aerosol within a typical atmospheric compartment (e.g. the marine boundary layer, the free troposphere etc.)

To understand aerosol properties, one cannot confine the discussion to such compartments, but one needs to view aerosol microphysical phenomena within the context of atmospheric dynamics that connects those compartments.

This paper attempts to present an integrated microphysical and dynamica picture of the global troposphere aerosol system. It does so by reviewing the microphysical processes and those elements of the general circulation that determine the size distribution and chemical composition of the aerosol, and by implementing both types of processes in a diagnostic model, in a 3-D global Chemical Transport Model, and in a General Circulation Model. Initial results are presented regarding the formation, transformation, and cycling of aerosols within the global atmosphere.

Additional information

Authors: RAES F, JRC-Environmental Istitute, Ispra (IT);VAN DINGEN R, JRC-Environmental Istitute, Ispra (IT);VIGNATI E, JRC-Environmental Istitute, Ispra (IT);WILSON J, JRC-Environmental Istitute, Ispra (IT);PUTAUD J, JRC-Environmental Istitute, Ispra (IT);SEINFELD J, California Institute of Technology Pasadena CA (US);ADAMS P, California Institute of Technology Pasadena CA (US)
Bibliographic Reference: Article published in: Atmospheric Environment 34 (2000), pp4215-4240
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