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Volume 16, issue 9 | Copyright

Special issue: Coupled chemistry–meteorology modelling: status and...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 5933-5948, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-5933-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 17 May 2016

Research article | 17 May 2016

Effects of aerosols on clear-sky solar radiation in the ALADIN-HIRLAM NWP system

Emily Gleeson1, Velle Toll2,3, Kristian Pagh Nielsen4, Laura Rontu5, and Ján Mašek6 Emily Gleeson et al.
  • 1Research, Environment and Applications Division, Met Éireann, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
  • 3Numerical Modelling Department, Estonian Environment Agency, Tallinn, Estonia
  • 4Department of Research and Development, Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 5Meteorological Research Department, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 6Department of Meteorology and Climatology, Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Prague, Czech Republic

Abstract. The direct shortwave radiative effect of aerosols under clear-sky conditions in the Aire Limitee Adaptation dynamique Developpement InterNational – High Resolution Limited Area Model (ALADIN-HIRLAM) numerical weather prediction system was investigated using three shortwave radiation schemes in diagnostic single-column experiments: the Integrated Forecast System (IFS), acraneb2 and the hlradia radiation schemes. The multi-band IFS scheme was formerly used operationally by the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) whereas hlradia and acraneb2 are broadband schemes. The former is a new version of the HIRLAM radiation scheme while acraneb2 is the radiation scheme in the ALARO-1 physics package.

The aim was to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the numerical weather prediction (NWP) system regarding aerosols and to prepare it for use of real-time aerosol information. The experiments were run with particular focus on the August 2010 Russian wildfire case. Each of the three radiation schemes accurately (within ±4% at midday) simulates the direct shortwave aerosol effect when observed aerosol optical properties are used. When the aerosols were excluded from the simulations, errors of more than +15% in global shortwave irradiance were found at midday, with the error reduced to +10% when standard climatological aerosols were used. An error of −11% was seen at midday if only observed aerosol optical depths at 550nm, and not observation-based spectral dependence of aerosol optical depth, single scattering albedos and asymmetry factors, were included in the simulations. This demonstrates the importance of using the correct aerosol optical properties. The dependency of the direct radiative effect of aerosols on relative humidity was tested and shown to be within ±6% in this case. By modifying the assumptions about the shape of the IFS climatological vertical aerosol profile, the inherent uncertainties associated with assuming fixed vertical profiles were investigated. The shortwave heating rates in the boundary layer changed by up to a factor of 2 in response to the aerosol vertical distribution without changing the total aerosol optical depth. Finally, we tested the radiative transfer approximations used in the three radiation schemes for typical aerosol optical properties compared to the accurate DISORT model. These approximations are found to be accurate to within ±13% even for large aerosol loads.

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The direct shortwave (SW) radiative effect of aerosols under clear-sky conditions in the ALADIN-HIRLAM numerical weather prediction system was investigated using three SW radiation schemes in diagnostic single-column experiments. Each scheme accurately simulates the direct SW effect when observed aerosols are used, particularly for heavy pollution scenarios.
The direct shortwave (SW) radiative effect of aerosols under clear-sky conditions in the...
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