Organic Aerosol Growth Mechanisms and Their Climate-Forcing Implications


Maria, SF, LM Russell, MK Gilles, and SCB Myneni. 2004. “Organic Aerosol Growth Mechanisms and Their Climate-Forcing Implications.Science 306: 1921–1924.


Surface- and volume-limited chemical reactions on and in atmospheric aerosol particles cause growth while changing organic composition by 13 to 24% per day. Many of these particles contain carbonaceous components from mineral dust and combustion emissions in Africa, Asia, and North America and reveal reaction rates that are three times slower than those typically used in climate models. These slower rates for converting from volatile or hydrophobic to condensed and hygroscopic organic compounds increase carbonaceous particle burdens in climate models by 70%, producing organic aerosol climate forcings of as much as –0.8 watt per square meter cooling and +0.3 watt per square meter warming.

Atmospheric science