Aerosol retrievals from channel-1 and -2 AVHRR radiances: Long-term trends...

Mishchenko, M., L. Liu, I. Geogdzhayev, J. Li, B. E. Carlson, A. Lacis, B. Cairns, and L. D. Travis (2012), Aerosol retrievals from channel-1 and -2 AVHRR radiances: Long-term trends updated and revisited, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer, 113, 1974-1980, doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2012.05.006.

The nominal Global Aerosol Climatology Project (GACP) record of aerosol optical thickness (AOT) and Ångström exponent (AE) over the oceans is extended by 6 months to cover the period from August 1981 through December 2005. The most recent 4-year segment reveals no significant short-term tendencies in globally and hemispherically averaged AOTs and AEs. This finding is consistent with contemporaneous MODIS and MISR results and the accumulating evidence of a gradual transition from global brightening to global dimming. We also analyze the retrieval implications of allowing the imaginary part of the aerosols refractive index Im(m) to change over the duration of the GACP record. Our sensitivity study shows that increasing Im(m) from 0.003 during the 4-year pre-Pinatubo period up to 0.007 during the most recent 4-year segment of GACP data eliminates the previously identified long-term decreasing AOT trend. Should this long-term trend in Im(m) be real then it would cause the global absorption AOT over the oceans to more than double and the global single-scattering albedo to decrease from ~ 0.95 to ~ 0.88. Such changes could make tropospheric aerosols significant contributors to the recent surface temperature increase.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)