The importance of interstitial particle scavenging by cloud droplets in shaping the remote aerosol size distribution and global aerosol-climate effects

In this paper, we investigate the coagulation of interstitial aerosol particles (particles too small to activate to cloud droplets) with cloud drops, a process often ignored in aerosol-climate models. We use the GEOS-Chem-TOMAS global chemical transport model with aerosol microphysics to calculate the changes in the aerosol size distribution, cloud-albedo aerosol indirect effect, and direct aerosol effect due to the interstitial coagulation process. We find that inclusion of interstitial coagulation in clouds lowers total particle number concentrations by 15–21 % globally, where the range is due to varying assumptions regarding activation diameter, cloud droplet size, and ice cloud 10 physics. The interstitial coagulation process lowers the concentration of particles with dry diameters larger than 80 nm (a proxy for larger CCN) by 10–12 %.