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Chapter 3: Evaluating the impacts of carbonaceous aerosols on clouds and climate

Description: Any attempt to reconcile observed surface temperature changes within the last 150 years to changes simulated by climate models that include various atmospheric forcings is sensitive to the changes attributed to aerosols and aerosol-cloud-climate interactions, which are the main contributors that may well balance the positive forcings associated with greenhouse gases, absorbing aerosols, ozone related changes, etc. These aerosol effects on climate, from various modeling studies discussed in Menon (2004), range from +0.8 to -2.4 W m{sup -2}, with an implied value of -1.0 W m{sup -2} (range from -0.5 to -4.5 W m{sup -2}) for the aerosol indirect effects. Quantifying the contribution of aerosols and aerosol-cloud interactions remain complicated for several reasons some of which are related to aerosol distributions and some to the processes used to represent their effects on clouds. Aerosol effects on low lying marine stratocumulus clouds that cover much of the Earth's surface (about 70%) have been the focus of most of prior aerosol-cloud interaction effect simulations. Since cumulus clouds (shallow and deep convective) are short lived and cover about 15 to 20% of the Earth's surface, they are not usually considered as radiatively important. However, the large amount of latent heat released from convective towers, and corresponding changes in precipitation, especially in biomass regions due to convective heating effects (Graf et al. 2004), suggest that these cloud systems and aerosol effects on them, must be examined more closely. The radiative heating effects for mature deep convective systems can account for 10-30% of maximum latent heating effects and thus cannot be ignored (Jensen and Del Genio 2003). The first study that isolated the sensitivity of cumulus clouds to aerosols was from Nober et al. (2003) who found a reduction in precipitation in biomass burning regions and shifts in circulation patterns. Aerosol effects on convection have ...
Date: September 3, 2007
Creator: Menon, Surabi & Del Genio, Anthony D.

A multi-scale approach to molecular dynamics simulations of shock waves

Description: Study of the propagation of shock waves in condensed matter has led to new discoveries ranging from new metastable states of carbon [1] to the metallic conductivity of hydrogen in Jupiter, [2] but progress in understanding the microscopic details of shocked materials has been extremely difficult. Complications can include the unexpected formation of metastable states of matter that determine the structure, instabilities, and time-evolution of the shock wave. [1,3] The formation of these metastable states can depend on the time-dependent thermodynamic pathway that the material follows behind the shock front. Furthermore, the states of matter observed in the shock wave can depend on the timescale on which observation is made. [4,1] Significant progress in understanding these microscopic details has been made through molecular dynamics simulations using the popular non-equilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD) approach to atomistic simulation of shock compression. [5] The NEMD method involves creating a shock at one edge of a large system by assigning some atoms at the edge a fixed velocity. The shock propagates across the computational cell to the opposite side. The computational work required by NEMD scales at least quadratically in the evolution time because larger systems are needed for longer simulations to prevent the shock wave from reflecting from the edge of the computational cell and propagating back into the cell. When quantum mechanical methods with poor scaling of computational effort with system size are employed, this approach to shock simulations rapidly becomes impossible.
Date: September 3, 2004
Creator: Reed, E. J.; Fried, L. E.; Manaa, M. R. & Joannopoulos, J. D.