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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.

  15 Sep 2020

15 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Quantifying the range of the dust direct radiative effect due to source mineralogy uncertainty

Longlei Li1, Natalie M. Mahowald1, Ron L. Miller2, Carlos Pérez García-Pando3,9, Martina Klose3, Douglas S. Hamilton1, Maria Gonçalves Ageitos3,10, Paul Ginoux4, Yves Balkanski5, Robert O. Green6, Olga Kalashnikova6, Jasper F. Kok7, Vincenzo Obiso2,3, David Paynter8, and David R. Thompson6 Longlei Li et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 2NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA
  • 3Earth Sciences Department, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Barcelona, Spain
  • 4Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
  • 5Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de I'Environnement, UMR 8212 CEA-CNRS-UVSQ-UPSaclay, Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
  • 6Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 7Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 8Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ, USA
  • 9ICREA, Passeig Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
  • 10Department of Project and Construction Engineering, Technical University of Catalonia, Terrassa, Spain

Abstract. The large uncertainty in mineral dust direct radiative effect (DRE) hinders projections of future climate change due to anthropogenic activity. Resolving modelled dust mineral-speciation allows for spatially and temporally varying refractive indices consistent with dust aerosol composition. Here, for the first time, we quantify the range in dust DRE at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) due to current uncertainties in the surface soil mineralogical content using a dust mineral-resolving climate model. We propagate observed uncertainties in soil mineral abundances from two soil mineralogy atlases along with the optical properties of each mineral into the DRE and compare the resultant range with other sources of uncertainty across six climate models. The shortwave DRE responses region-specifically to the dust burden depending on the mineral speciation and underlying shortwave surface albedo; positively when the regionally averaged annual surface albedo is larger than 0.28, and negatively otherwise. Among all minerals examined, the shortwave TOA DRE and single scattering albedo at the 0.44–0.63 µm band are most sensitive to the fractional contribution of iron oxides to the total dust composition. The global net (shortwave plus longwave) TOA DRE is estimated to be within −0.23 to +0.35 W m−2. Approximately 97 % of this range relates to uncertainty in the soil abundance of iron oxides. Representing iron-oxide with solely hematite optical properties leads to an overestimation of shortwave DRE by +0.1 W m−2 at the TOA, as goethite is not as absorbing as hematite in the shortwave spectrum range. Our study highlights the importance of iron oxides to the shortwave DRE: they have a disproportionally large impact on climate considering their small atmospheric mineral mass fractional burden (~2 %). An improved description of iron oxides, such as those planned in the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT), is thus essential for more accurate estimates of the dust DRE.

Longlei Li et al.

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Longlei Li et al.

Data sets

Atmospheric mean mineral aerosol abundance and direct radiative effect by dust for models and cases described in Li et al. (2020) Longlei Li, Natalie M. Mahowald, Ron L. Miller, Carlos Pérez García-Pando, Martina Klose, Douglas S. Hamilton, Maria Gonçalves Ageitos, Paul Ginoux, Yves Balkanski, Robert O. Green, Olga Kalashnikova, Jasper F. Kok, Vincenzo Obiso, David Paynter, and David R. Thompson

Longlei Li et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
For the first time, this study quantifies the range of dust direct radiative effect due to uncertainty in the soil mineral abundance using all currently available information. We show that the majority of the estimated direct radiative effect range is due to uncertainty in the simulated mass fractions of iron oxides and thus their soil abundance which is independent of the model employed. We, therefore, prove the necessity of considering mineralogy for understanding dust-climate interactions.
For the first time, this study quantifies the range of dust direct radiative effect due to...