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  • Author or Editor: Krzysztof M. Markowicz x
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Krzysztof M. Markowicz and Marcin L. Witek


The aim of this study is to investigate the sensitivity of radiative-forcing computations to various contrail crystal shape models. Contrail optical properties in the shortwave and longwave ranges are derived using a ray-tracing geometric method and the discrete dipole approximation method, respectively. Both methods present good correspondence of the single-scattering albedo and the asymmetry parameter in a transition range (3–8 μm). There are substantial differences in single-scattering properties among 10 crystal models investigated here (e.g., hexagonal columns and plates with different aspect ratios, and spherical particles). The single-scattering albedo and the asymmetry parameter both vary by up to 0.1 among various crystal shapes. The computed single-scattering properties are incorporated in the moderate-resolution atmospheric radiance and transmittance model (MODTRAN) radiative transfer code to simulate solar and infrared fluxes at the top of the atmosphere. Particle shapes have a strong impact on the contrail radiative forcing in both the shortwave and longwave ranges. The differences in the net radiative forcing among optical models reach 50% with respect to the mean model value. The hexagonal-column and hexagonal-plate particles show the smallest net radiative forcing, and the largest forcing is obtained for the spheres. The balance between the shortwave forcing and longwave forcing is highly sensitive with respect to the assumed crystal shape and may even change the sign of the net forcing. The optical depth at which the mean diurnal radiative forcing changes sign from positive to negative varies from 4.5 to 10 for a surface albedo of 0.2 and from 2 to 6.5 for a surface albedo of 0.05. Contrails are probably never that optically thick (except for some aged contrail cirrus), however, and so will not have a cooling effect on climate.

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John H. Seinfeld, Gregory R. Carmichael, Richard Arimoto, William C. Conant, Frederick J. Brechtel, Timothy S. Bates, Thomas A. Cahill, Antony D. Clarke, Sarah J. Doherty, Piotr J. Flatau, Barry J. Huebert, Jiyoung Kim, Krzysztof M. Markowicz, Patricia K. Quinn, Lynn M. Russell, Philip B. Russell, Atsushi Shimizu, Yohei Shinozuka, Chul H. Song, Youhua Tang, Itsushi Uno, Andrew M. Vogelmann, Rodney J. Weber, Jung-Hun Woo, and Xiao Y. Zhang

Although continental-scale plumes of Asian dust and pollution reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth's surface and perturb the chemistry of the atmosphere, our ability to quantify these effects has been limited by a lack of critical observations, particularly of layers above the surface. Comprehensive surface, airborne, shipboard, and satellite measurements of Asian aerosol chemical composition, size, optical properties, and radiative impacts were performed during the Asian Pacific Regional Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-Asia) study. Measurements within a massive Chinese dust storm at numerous widely spaced sampling locations revealed the highly complex structure of the atmosphere, in which layers of dust, urban pollution, and biomass- burning smoke may be transported long distances as distinct entities or mixed together. The data allow a first-time assessment of the regional climatic and atmospheric chemical effects of a continental-scale mixture of dust and pollution. Our results show that radiative flux reductions during such episodes are sufficient to cause regional climate change.

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