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Takamichi Iguchi, Toshihisa Matsui, Zhining Tao, Dongchul Kim, Charles M. Ichoku, Luke Ellison, and Jun Wang

Abstract

Series of aerosol transport hindcasts for West Africa were conducted using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model coupled to chemistry within the NASA-Unified WRF (NU-WRF) framework. The transport of biomass-burning aerosols in April and December 2009 was investigated over two types of simulation domains. One-month simulations with 9-km grid spacing for April or December 2009 covered most of North and West Africa and were evaluated by comparison with measurements of the total-column aerosol optical depth, Ångström exponent, and horizontal wind components at various pressure levels. The horizontal wind components at 700 hPa were identified as key factors in determining the transport patterns of biomass-burning aerosols from sub-Saharan West Africa to the Sahel. The vertical accumulation of biomass-burning aerosols close to 700 hPa was demonstrated in 1-day simulations with 1-km horizontal grid spacing. A new simple parameterization for the effects of heat release by biomass burning was designed for this resolution and tested together with the conventional parameterization based on fixed smoke injection heights. The aerosol vertical profiles were somewhat sensitive to the selection of parameterization, except for cases with the assumption of excessive heating by biomass burning. The new parameterization works reasonably well and offers flexibility to relate smoke transport to biomass-burning plume rise that can be correlated with the satellite fire radiative power measurements, which is advantageous relative to the conventional parameterization.

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