AOD trends during 2001–2010 from observations and model simulations
Abstract. The aerosol optical depth (AOD) trend between 2001 and 2010 is estimated globally and regionally from observations and results from simulations with the EMAC (ECHAM5/MESSy Atmospheric Chemistry) model. Although interannual variability is applied only to anthropogenic and biomass-burning emissions, the model is able to quantitatively reproduce the AOD trends as observed by the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellite sensor, while some discrepancies are found when compared to MISR (Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer) and SeaWIFS (Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor) observations. Thanks to an additional simulation without any change in emissions, it is shown that decreasing AOD trends over the US and Europe are due to the decrease in the emissions, while over the Sahara Desert and the Middle East region, the meteorological changes play a major role. Over Southeast Asia, both meteorology and emissions changes are equally important in defining AOD trends. Additionally, decomposing the regional AOD trends into individual aerosol components reveals that the soluble components are the most dominant contributors to the total AOD, as their influence on the total AOD is enhanced by the aerosol water content.