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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-50
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-50
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  22 Apr 2020

22 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Satellite-based radiative forcing by light-absorbing particles in snow across the Northern Hemisphere

Jiecan Cui1, Tenglong Shi1, Yue Zhou1, Dongyou Wu1, Xin Wang1,2, and Wei Pu1 Jiecan Cui et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China

Abstract. Snow is the most reflective natural surface on Earth and consequently plays an important role in Earth’s climate. Light-absorbing particles (LAPs) deposited on the snow surface can effectively decrease snow albedo, resulting in positive radiative forcing. In this study, we used remote sensing data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Snow, Ice, and Aerosol Radiative (SNICAR) model to quantify the reduction in snow albedo due to LAPs, before validating and correcting the data against in situ observations. We then incorporated these corrected albedo reduction data in the Santa Barbara DISORT Atmospheric Radiative Transfer (SBDART) model to estimate Northern Hemisphere radiative forcing in January and February for the period 2003–2018. Our analysis reveals an average corrected reduction in snow albedo of ~0.0246, with instantaneous radiative forcing and daily radiative forcing values of ~5.87 and ~1.69 W m−2, respectively. We also observed significant spatial variations in corrected snow albedo reduction, instantaneous radiative forcing and daily radiative forcing throughout the Northern Hemisphere, with the lowest respective values (~0.0123, ~1.09 W m−2, and ~0.29 W m−2) occurring in the Arctic and the highest (~0.1669, ~36.02 W m−2, and ~10.60 W m−2) in northeastern China. From MODIS retrievals, we determined that the LAP content of snow accounts for 57.6 % and 37.2 % of the spatial variability in Northern Hemisphere albedo reduction and radiative forcing, respectively. We also compared retrieved radiative forcing values with those of earlier studies, including local-scale observations, remote-sensing retrievals, and model-based estimates. Ultimately, estimates of radiative forcing based on satellite-retrieved data are shown to represent true conditions on both regional and global scales.

Jiecan Cui et al.

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Jiecan Cui et al.

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Short summary
We make the first quantitative, remote-sensing-based and hemisphere-scale assessment of radiative forcing (RF) due to Light-absorbing particles (LAPs) in snow. We observed significant spatial variations in snow albedo reduction and RF due to LAPs throughout the Northern Hemisphere, with the lowest values occurring in the Arctic and the highest in northeastern China. We determined that the LAPs in snow play a critical role in spatial variability in Northern Hemisphere albedo reduction and RF.
We make the first quantitative, remote-sensing-based and hemisphere-scale assessment of...
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