Sensitivities to biological aerosol particle properties and ageing processes: potential implications for aerosol-cloud interactions and optical properties.

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From: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics(Vol. 21, Issue 5)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 267 words

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Abstract :

Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAPs), such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and pollen, represent a small fraction of the total aerosol burden. Based on process model studies, we identify trends in the relative importance of PBAP properties, e.g., number concentration, diameter, hygroscopicity, surface tension, and contact angle, for their aerosol-cloud interactions and optical properties. While the number concentration of PBAPs likely does not affect total cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations globally, small changes in the hygroscopicity of submicron PBAPs might affect their CCN ability and thus their inclusion into clouds. Given that PBAPs are highly efficient atmospheric ice nuclei (IN) at T -10 .sup." C, we suggest that small changes in their sizes or surface properties due to chemical, physical, or biological processing might translate into large impacts on ice initiation in clouds. Predicted differences in the direct interaction of PBAPs with radiation can be equally large between different species of the same PBAP type and among different PBAP types. Our study shows that not only variability of PBAP types but also their physical, chemical, and biological ageing processes might alter their CCN and IN activities to affect their aerosol-cloud interactions and optical properties. While these properties and processes likely affect radiative forcing only on small spatial and temporal scales, we highlight their potential importance for PBAP survival, dispersion, and transport in the atmosphere.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A654635258