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Estimations of global shortwave direct aerosol radiative effects above opaque...

Kacenelenbogen, M. S., M. Vaughan, J. Redemann, S. A. Young, Z. Liu, Y. Hu, A. H. Omar, S. LeBlanc, Y. Shinozuka, J. M. Livingston, Q. Zhang, and K. A. Powell (2019), Estimations of global shortwave direct aerosol radiative effects above opaque water clouds using a combination of A-Train satellite sensors, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 4933-4962, doi:10.5194/acp-19-4933-2019.

All-sky direct aerosol radiative effects (DARE) play a significant yet still uncertain role in climate. This is partly due to poorly quantified radiative properties of aerosol above clouds (AAC). We compute global estimates of shortwave top-of-atmosphere DARE over opaque water clouds (OWCs), DAREOWC , using observation-based aerosol and cloud radiative properties from a combination of A-Train satellite sensors and a radiative transfer model. There are three major differences between our DAREOWC calculations and previous studies: (1) we use the depolarization ratio method (DR) on CALIOP (Cloud–Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization) Level 1 measurements to compute the AAC frequencies of occurrence and the AAC aerosol optical depths (AODs), thus introducing fewer uncertainties compared to using the CALIOP standard product; (2) we apply our calculations globally, instead of focusing exclusively on regional AAC “hotspots” such as the southeast Atlantic; and (3) instead of the traditional look-up table approach, we use a combination of satellite-based sensors to obtain AAC intensive radiative properties. Our results agree with previous findings on the dominant locations of AAC (south and northeast Pacific, tropical and southeast Atlantic, northern Indian Ocean and northwest Pacific), the season of maximum occurrence and aerosol optical depths (a majority in the 0.01–0.02 range and that can exceed 0.2 at 532 nm) across the globe. We find positive averages of global seasonal DAREOWC between 0.13 and 0.26 W m−2 (i.e., a warming effect on climate). Regional seasonal DAREOWC values range from −0.06 W m−2 in the Indian Ocean offshore from western Australia (in March–April–May) to 2.87 W m−2 in the southeast Atlantic (in September–October–November). High positive values are usually paired with high aerosol optical depths (> 0.1) and low single scattering albedos (< 0.94), representative of, for example, biomass burning aerosols. Because we use different spatial domains, temporal periods, satellite sensors, detection methods and/or associated uncertainties, the DAREOWC estimates in this study are not directly comparable to previous peer-reviewed results. Despite these differences, we emphasize that the DAREOWC estimates derived in this study are generally higher than previously reported. The primary reasons for our higher estimates are (i) the possible underestimate of the number of dust-dominated AAC cases in our study; (ii) our use of Level 1 CALIOP products (instead of CALIOP Level 2 products in previous studies) for the detection and quantification of AAC aerosol optical depths, which leads to larger estimates of AOD above OWC; and (iii) our use of gridded 4◦ × 5◦ seasonal means of aerosol and cloud properties in our DAREOWC calculations instead of simultaneously derived aerosol and cloud properties from a combination of A-Train satellite sensors. Each of these areas is explored in depth with detailed discussions that explain both the rationale for our specific approach and the subsequent ramifications for our DARE calculations.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)