Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 277-296, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-277-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
05 Jan 2017
Evaluating the representation of aerosol optical properties using an online coupled model over the Iberian Peninsula
Laura Palacios-Peña1, Rocío Baró1, Juan Luis Guerrero-Rascado2,3, Lucas Alados-Arboledas2,3, Dominik Brunner4, and Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero1 1Department of Physics, Regional Campus of International Excellence “Campus Mare Nostrum”, Campus de Espinardo, University of Murcia, Murcia, 30100, Spain
2Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research (IISTA-CEAMA), Av. del Mediterráneo, Granada, 18006, Spain
3Department Applied Physics, University of Granada, Fuentenueva s/n, Granada, 18006, Spain
4Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology (EMPA), Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Dübendorf, 8600 Switzerland
Abstract. The effects of atmospheric aerosol particles on the Earth's climate mainly depend on their optical, microphysical and chemical properties, which modify the Earth's radiative budget. The aerosol radiative effects can be divided into direct and semi-direct effects, produced by the aerosol–radiation interactions (ARIs), and indirect effects, produced by aerosol–cloud interactions (ACIs). In this sense the objective of this work is to assess whether the inclusion of aerosol radiative feedbacks in the online coupled WRF-Chem model improves the modelling outputs over the Iberian Peninsula (IP) and surrounding water areas. For this purpose, the methodology is based on the evaluation of modelled aerosol optical properties under different simulation scenarios. The evaluated data come from two WRF-Chem simulations for the IP differing in the inclusion/no-inclusion of ARIs and ACIs (RF/NRF simulations). The case studies cover two episodes with different aerosol types over the IP in 2010, namely a Saharan dust outbreak and a forest fire episode. The evaluation uses observational data from AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network) stations and MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensor, including aerosol optical depth (AOD) and Ångström exponent (AE). Experimental data of aerosol vertical distribution from the EARLINET (European Aerosol Research Lidar Network) Granada station are used for checking the models. The results indicate that for the spatial distribution the best-represented variable is AOD and the largest improvements when including the aerosol radiative feedbacks are found for the vertical distribution. In the case of the dust outbreak, a slight improvement (worsening) is produced over the areas with medium (high/low) levels of AOD(−9 % / +12 % of improvement) when including the aerosol radiative feedbacks. For the wildfire episode, improvements of AOD representation (up to 11 %) over areas further away from emission sources are estimated, which compensates for the computational effort of including aerosol feedbacks in the simulations. No clear improvement is observed for the AE representation, the variability of which is largely underpredicted by both simulations.

Citation: Palacios-Peña, L., Baró, R., Guerrero-Rascado, J. L., Alados-Arboledas, L., Brunner, D., and Jiménez-Guerrero, P.: Evaluating the representation of aerosol optical properties using an online coupled model over the Iberian Peninsula, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 277-296, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-277-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
The effects of atmospheric aerosols over the Earth’s climate mainly depend on their optical, microphysical and chemical properties, which modify the Earth's radiative budget, the main source of uncertainty in climate change. In this work we have studied the representation of aerosol optical properties using an online coupled model (WRF-Chem) when aerosol–radiation interactions (ARIs) and aerosol–clouds interactions (ACIs) are taken into account over the Iberian Peninsula.
The effects of atmospheric aerosols over the Earth’s climate mainly depend on their optical,...
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