U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Improving the Representation of Aerosols in Climate Models
Published: August 16, 2010
Posted: August 18, 2010

DOE scientists are developing a method to represent the fine details, termed “sub-grid,” of the variability of aerosols and other trace gas pollutants in climate models. Though sub-grid processes play important roles in Earth’s climate, they have been largely ignored since we do not know how to include them in current coarse grid climate models. The new methodology involves constructing probability density functions within a grid cell of a climate model for major chemically active trace gases and aerosols. The new results imply that spatial variability of pollutant emissions contributes a large share of the sub-grid variability of aerosols. This research is a first step to guide future development of improved aerosol parameterizations in climate models and to accurately quantify aerosol impacts on climate, critical for understanding and predicting future climate change.

Reference: Qian, Y., Gustafson Jr., W. I., and Fast, J. D.: An investigation of the sub-grid variability of trace gases and aerosols for global climate modeling, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 6917-6946, doi:10.5194/acp-10-6917-2010, 2010.


Contact: Kiran Alapaty, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3175, Ashley Williamson, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3120
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)