Efficient Method of Moments for Simulating Atmospheric Aerosol Growth: Model Description, Verification, and Application

J. Shen, M. Yu, T. L. Chan, C. Tu, Y. Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The atmospheric aerosol dynamics model (AADM) has been widely used in both comprehensive air quality model systems and chemical transport modeling globally. The AADM consists of Smoluchowski's coagulation equation (SCE), whose solution undergoing Brownian coagulation in the free molecular regime is a challenge because it is inconsistent with aerosols whose size distribution cannot exactly follow the lognormal size distribution. Thus, a new method for solving the SCE without assuming lognormal size distribution is proposed and developed. The underlying principle of this method is that the hybridization of the well-established method of moments with the assumed lognormal size distribution (log MOM) and Taylor-series expansion method of moments (TEMOM) is implemented. This method shows excellent agreement with the sectional method (SM) which is used as reference. The accuracy of these two specific models closely approaches that of the TEMOM, but overcomes the limitation of the classical log MOM. The computational time of this scheme is considerably lower than that of the SM. The new method was successfully implemented to reveal the formation and growth of secondary particles emitted from a vehicle exhaust tailpipe. It was found that the formation of new particles only occurs in the interface region of the turbulent exhaust jet (which is very close to the tailpipe exit), whereas no new particles are formed in the mixture of the exhaust jet plume and the surrounding cold air downstream. The new method is verified as an efficient and reliable numerical scheme for studying atmospheric aerosol dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019JD032172
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2020


  • atmospheric aerosol dynamics model
  • method of moments
  • secondary nanoparticle formation
  • simulation
  • vehicle exhaust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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