Modeling the smoky troposphere of the 2 southeast Atlantic: a comparison to 3...

Shinozuka, Y., Saide Peralta, G. Ferrada, S. Burton, R. Ferrare, S. Doherty, H. Gordon, Longo de Freitas, M. Mallet, Y. Feng, Q. Wang, Y. Cheng, A. Dobracki, S. Freitag, S. Howell, S. LeBlanc, C. Flynn, M. Segal-Rozenhaimer, K. Pistone, J. Podolske, J. Eric, E. Stith, J. R. Bennett, G. Carmichael, A. da Silva, and R. Govindaraju (2020), Modeling the smoky troposphere of the 2 southeast Atlantic: a comparison to 3 ORACLES airborne observations from 4 September of 2016, Atmos. Chem. Phys., doi:10.5194/acp-2019-678.

The southeast Atlantic is home to well-defined smoke outflow from Africa coinciding vertically with extensive marine boundary-layer cloud decks, both reaching their climatological maxima in spatial extent around September. A framework is put forth for evaluating the performance of a range of global and regional aerosol models against observations made during the NASA ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) airborne mission in September 2016. The sparse airborne observations are first aggregated into 2deg. grid boxes and into three vertical layers: the cloud-topped marine boundary layer (MBL), the layer from cloud top to 3 km, and the 3-6 km layer. Aerosol extensive properties simulated for 1 the entire study region for all September suggest that the 2016 ORACLES observations are reasonably representative of the regional monthly average, with systematic deviations of 30% or less. All six models typically place the bottom of the smoke layer at lower altitudes than do the airborne lidar observations by 300-1400 m, whereas model aerosol top heights are within 0-500 m of the observations. All but one of the models that report carbonaceous aerosol masses underestimate the ratio of particulate extinction to the masses, a proxy for mass extinction efficiency, in 3-6 km. Notable findings on individual models include that WRF-CAM5 predicts the mass of black carbon and organic aerosols with minor (~10% or less) biases. GEOS-5 overestimates the carbonaceous particle masses in the MBL by a factor of 3-6. Extinction coefficients in the free troposphere (FT) and above-cloud aerosol optical depth (ACAOD) are 10-30% lower in WRF-CAM5, 30-50% lower in GEOS-5, 10-40% higher in GEOS-Chem, 10-20% higher in EAM-E3SM except for the practically unbiased 3-6 km extinction, and 20-70% lower in the Unified Model, than the airborne in situ, lidar and sunphotometer measurements. ALADIN-Climate also underestimates the ACAOD, by 30%. GEOS-5 and GEOS-Chem predict carbon monoxide in the MBL with small (10% or less) negative biases, despite their overestimates of carbonaceous aerosol masses. Overall, this study highlights a new approach to utilizing airborne aerosol measurements for model diagnosis.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.
Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)