Effect of internal mixture on black carbon radiative forcing
Chung, Chul E.
The effects of coating on black carbon (BC) optical properties and global climate forcing are revisited with more realistic approaches. We use the Generalized Multiparticle Mie method along with a realistic size range of monomers and clusters to compute the optical properties of uncoated BC clusters. Mie scattering is used to compute the optical properties of BC coated by scattering material. When integrated over the size distribution, we find the coating to increase BC absorption by up to a factor of 1.9 (1.8-2.1). We also find the coating can significantly increase or decrease BC backscattering depending on shell size and how shell material would be distributed if BC is uncoated. The effect of coating on BC forcing is computed by the Monte-Carlo Aerosol Cloud Radiation model with observed clouds and realistic BC spatial distributions. If we assume all the BC particles to be coated, the coating increases global BC forcing by a factor of 1.4 from the 1.9 x absorption increase alone. Conversely, the coating can decrease the forcing by up to 60% or increase it by up to 40% by only the BC backscattering changes. Thus, the combined effects generally, but not necessarily, amplify BC forcing.