Effects of implementing satellite observed aerosols into a mesoscale atmosphere model

Bay E., Yucel I., Kovacs T., Mccormick M. P.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, vol.32, no.19, pp.5505-5525, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


This study investigated the performance of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University-National Center for Atmospheric Research (PSU-NCAR) Mesoscale Model (MM5) in calculating the aerosol forcing on cloud cover, incoming surface solar radiation, and near-surface air temperature via the implementation of aerosol optical depth in the shortwave radiation parameterization. MM5 simulations with and without aerosol data are performed in the periods of 6-7 August 2003 and 19-21 September 2003 during which strong aerosol forcing was observed with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data in the mid-Atlantic region. Both periods clearly showed that aerosols had a direct negative effect on surface solar radiation through aerosol scattering. For example, every 0.1 change in MODIS aerosol optical thickness (AOT) results in 44 and 59 W m(-2) decreases in surface solar radiation for the first and second periods, respectively. A magnitude of 0.1 increment in MODIS AOT reduces air temperature 0.36 and 0.56 K for the first and second periods, respectively. Comparisons with satellite-derived surface solar radiation retrievals showed that aerosol implementation in MM5 consistently showed better incoming surface solar radiation than that of the non-aerosol case. This helps to reduce uncertainties related to the radiation-cloud-aerosol interaction in numerical weather modelling systems.