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Direct Insertion of MODIS Radiances in a Global Aerosol Transport Model

Weaver, C., A. da Silva, M. Chin, P. Ginoux, O. Dubovik, D. Flittner, A. Zia, L. Remer, B. Holben, and W. Gregg (2007), Direct Insertion of MODIS Radiances in a Global Aerosol Transport Model, J. Atmos. Sci., 64, 808-826, doi:10.1175/JAS3838.1.

In this paper results are presented from a simple offline assimilation system that uses radiances from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) channels that sense atmospheric aerosols over land and ocean. The MODIS information is directly inserted into the Goddard Chemistry and Aerosol Radiation Transport model (GOCART), which simulates the following five aerosol types: dust, sea salt, black carbon, organic carbon, and sulfate. The goal is to produce three-dimensional fields of these aerosol types for radiative forcing calculations.

Products from this assimilation system are compared with ground-based measurements of aerosol optical depth (AOD) from the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET). Insertion of MODIS radiances draws the GOCART model closer to the AERONET AOD. However, there are still uncertainties with surface reflectivity over moderately bright surfaces and with the amount of absorbing aerosol.

Also described is the assimilation cycle. The forward model takes the aerosol information from the GOCART model and calculates radiances based on optical parameters of the aerosol type, satellite viewing angle, and the particle growth from relative humidity. Because the GOCART model is driven by previously assimilated meteorology, these forward model radiances can be directly compared with the observed MODIS level-2 radiances. The offline assimilation system simply adjusts the aerosol loading in the GOCART model so that the observed minus forward model radiances agree. Minimal change is made to the GOCART aerosol vertical distribution, size distribution, and the ratio of the five different aerosol types. The loading in the GOCART model is updated with new MODIS observations every 6 h. Since the previously assimilated meteorology provides surface wind speed, radiance sensitivity to wind speed over rough ocean is taken into account. Over land the dark target approach, also used by the MODIS–atmosphere group retrieval, is used. If the underlying land surface is deemed dark enough, the surface reflectances at the 0.47- and 0.66-μm wavelengths are constant multiples of the observed 2.13-μm reflectance. Over ocean the assimilation AOD compares well with AERONET, over land less so. The results herein are also compared with AERONET-retrieved single-scattering albedo. This research is part of an ongoing effort at NASA Goddard to integrate aerosols into the Goddard Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) products.

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