Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
01 Mar 2010
 | 01 Mar 2010

Evaluation of aerosol distributions in the GISS-TOMAS global aerosol microphysics model with remote sensing observations

Y. H. Lee and P. J. Adams

Abstract. The Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) and Angstrom Coefficient (AC) predictions in the GISS-TOMAS model of global aerosol microphysics are evaluated against remote sensing data from MODIS, MISR, and AERONET. The model AOD agrees well (within a factor of two) over polluted continental (or high sulfate), dusty, and moderate sea-salt regions but less well over the equatorial, high sea-salt, and biomass burning regions. Underprediction of sea-salt in the equatorial region is likely due to GCM meteorology (low wind speeds and high precipitation). For the Southern Ocean, overprediction of AOD is very likely due to high sea-salt emissions and perhaps aerosol water uptake in the model. However, uncertainties in cloud screening at high latitudes make it difficult to evaluate the model AOD there with the satellite-based AOD. AOD in biomass burning regions is underpredicted, a tendency found in other global models but more severely here. Using measurements from the LBA-SMOCC 2002 campaign, the surface-level OC concentration in the model are found to be underpredicted severely during the dry season while much less severely for EC concentration, suggesting the low AOD in the model is due to underpredictions in OM mass. The potential for errors in emissions and wet deposition to contribute to this bias is discussed.

Final-revised paper