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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 May 2020

18 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Direct and semi-direct radiative forcing of biomass burning aerosols over the Southeast Atlantic (SEA) and its sensitivity to absorbing properties: a regional climate modeling study

Marc Mallet1, Fabien Solmon2, Pierre Nabat1, Nellie Elguindi2, Fabien Waquet3, Dominique Bouniol1, Andrew Mark Sayer4,5, Kerry Meyer5, Romain Roehrig1, Martine Michou1, Paquita Zuidema6, Cyrille Flamant7, Jens Redemann8, and Paola Formenti9 Marc Mallet et al.
  • 1Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, UMR3589, Météo-France-CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 2Laboratoire d'Aérologie, UMR 5560, 16 avenue Édouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
  • 3Université de Lille, CNRS, UMR 8518, LOA – Laboratoire d'Optique Atmosphérique, 59000 Lille, France
  • 4Universities Spcae Reasearch Association Columbia, MD, USA
  • 5NASA Goddard Spade Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 6Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA
  • 7LATMOS/IPSL, Sorbonne Université, UVSQ, CNRS, Paris, France
  • 8University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
  • 9LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil et Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, Créteil, France

Abstract. Simulations are performed for the period 2000–2015 by two different regional climate models, ALADIN–Climat and RegCM, to quantify the direct and semi-direct radiative effects of biomass burning aerosols (BBA) in the Southeast Atlantic (SEA) region. The approach of using two different independent RCMs reinforces the robustness of the results. Different simulations have been performed using strongly absorbing BBA in accordance with recent in situ observations over the SEA. For the July–August–September (JAS) season, the single scattering albedo (SSA) and total aerosol optical depth (AOD) simulated by the ALADIN–Climat and RegCM models are consistent with the MACv2 climatology and MERRA-2 and CAMS-RA reanalyses near the biomass burning emission sources. However, the above-cloud AOD is slightly underestimated compared to satellite (MODIS and POLDER) data during the transport over the SEA. The direct radiative effect exerted at the continental and oceanic surfaces by BBA is significant in both models and the radiative effects at the top of the atmosphere indicate a remarkable regional contrast over SEA (in all-sky conditions), with a cooling (warming) north (south) of 10° S, which is in agreement with the recent MACv2 climatology. In addition, the two models indicate that BBA are responsible for an important shortwave radiative heating of ~ 0.5–1 K per day over SEA during JAS with maxima between 2 and 4 km above mean sea-level. At these altitudes, BBA increase air temperature by ~ 0.2–0.5 K, with the highest values being co-located with low stratocumulus clouds. Vertical changes in air temperature limit the subsidence over SEA creating a cyclonic anomaly. The opposite effect is simulated over the continent due to the increase in lower troposphere stability. The BBA semi-direct effect on the lower troposphere circulation is found to be consistent between the two models. Changes in the cloud fraction are moderate in response to the presence of smoke and the models differ over the Gulf of Guinea. Finally, the results indicate an important sensitivity of the direct and semi-direct effects to the absorbing properties of BBA.

Marc Mallet et al.

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Marc Mallet et al.

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Latest update: 07 Aug 2020
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