Articles | Volume 20, issue 5
Research article
29 Oct 2013
Research article |  | 29 Oct 2013

Escape rate: a Lagrangian measure of particle deposition from the atmosphere

T. Haszpra and T. Tél

Abstract. Due to rising or descending air and due to gravity, aerosol particles carry out a complicated, chaotic motion and move downwards on average. We simulate the motion of aerosol particles with an atmospheric dispersion model called the Real Particle Lagrangian Trajectory (RePLaT) model, i.e., by solving Newton's equation and by taking into account the impacts of precipitation and turbulent diffusion where necessary, particularly in the planetary boundary layer. Particles reaching the surface are considered to have escaped from the atmosphere. The number of non-escaped particles decreases with time. The short-term and long-term decay are found to be exponential and are characterized by escape rates. The reciprocal values of the short-term and long-term escape rates provide estimates of the average residence time of typical particles, and of exceptional ones that become convected or remain in the free atmosphere for an extremely long time, respectively. The escape rates of particles of different sizes are determined and found to vary in a broad range. The increase is roughly exponential with the particle size. These investigations provide a Lagrangian foundation for the concept of deposition rates.