Impact of cloud process in the mixing state and microphysical properties of soot particles: implications in light absorption enhancement

Yuzhen Fu, Xiaocong Peng, Wei Sun, Xiaodong Hu, Dian Wang, Yuxiang Yang, Ziyong Guo, Yuanyuan Wang, Guohua Zhang*, Jianxi Zhu, Jie Ou, Zongbo Shi, Xinming Wang, Xinhui Bi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The radiative forcing of soot is dependent on the morphology, mixing state and structure. Cloud processing has been predicted to affect their mixing properties but little is known about the resulting light absorption properties. We collected ambient particles in the pre-cloud period, the cloud residues and interstitials in the in-cloud period at Mt. Tianjing (southern China). The morphology parameters of soot aggregates with varying mixing materials [sulfate (S) and organics (OM)] and mixing structures were investigated by a transmission electron microscope, and their absorption cross section were calculated based on discrete dipole approximation. We found that the number contribution of soot-S decreased from 45% in the pre-cloud period to 32% in the in-cloud period, and that of soot-OM increased from 44% to 60%. Moreover, the number proportion of soot-OM with fully embedded structure increased remarkably in the in-cloud period (29%), compared with that in the pre-cloud period (3%). In addition, the soot-S aggregates became denser after in-cloud aqueous process. However, for soot-OM aggregates, the morphology remained relatively constant. The distinctly different change of soot-S and soot-OM in morphology highlights the chemically resolved reconstruction of soot morphology. Theoretical calculation further shows that the changes of soot particles in the mixing state and morphological characteristics by the cloud process resulted in the light absorption enhancement increase from 1.57 to 2.01. This study highlights that the evolution of microphysical properties upon cloud processing should also be considered in climate models to more accurately evaluate the impacts of soot particles.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022JD037169
Number of pages13
Journal Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number21
Early online date23 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2019B151502022), National Natural Science Foundation of China (42192514, 42077322, and 41877307), Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (2021354), and Guangdong Foundation for Program of Science and Technology Research (2020B1212060053).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • absorption enhancement
  • cloud process
  • mixing material
  • mixing structure
  • morphology
  • soot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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