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Sulfate and MSA Aerosol Dynamics in the Marine Boundary Layer

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LONG TERM GOALS. The goal of our work is to improve the Navys ability to model the formation, processing, and removal of aerosols in the marine boundary layer, by 1 improving measurement technology, 2 characterizing littoral mixtures of continental and marine aerosols, and 3 making process submodels in aerosolvisibility models more realistic. SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVE The importance of predicting visibility for naval operations is obvious both targeting and concealment are major tactical concerns, for which accurate predictions are critical to battlefield superiority. Since airmass changes can make targets more visible or enable the concealment of our own resources, theater commanders need to have accurate visibility predictions upon which to base tactical decisions. Although it has been known for centuries that marine aerosols affect visibility, we still cannot quantitatively forecast light scattering by particles in coastal areas. In part this is because small changes in relative humidity can cause huge changes in particle size and light extinction. Modeling these changes requires precise knowledge of the chemical composition of the particles vs size and equally precise measurements against which to test the models. Coastal zone visibility is particularly complex, since mixtures of relatively clean marine air with polluted continental air create wide swings in conditions that can suddenly expose or conceal ships. While the Navy clearly needs the capability to accurately model the optical properties of aerosols in coastal zones, predictive visibility models are presently limited by our lack of understanding of aerosol formation, transformation, and removal processes. Our groups objective is to use high-quality observations to characterize marine aerosols and to quantify the rates of processes that control their concentrations. This process information will then be used to make predictive models much more realistic and accurate.

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  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

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