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Yoram J. Kaufman and Teruyuki Nakajima

Abstract

NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer images taken over the Brazilian Amazon Basin during the biomass burning season of 1987 are used to study the effect of smoke aerosol particles on the properties of low cumulus and stratocumulus clouds. The reflectance at a wavelength of 0.64 µm and the drop size, derived from the cloud reflectance at 3.75 µm, are studied for tens of thousands of clouds. The opacity of the smoke layer adjacent to each cloud is also monitored simultaneously. Though from satellite data it is impossible to derive all the parameters that influence cloud properties and smoke–cloud interaction (e.g., detailed aerosol particles size distribution and chemistry, liquid water content, etc.); satellite data can be used to generate large-scale statistics of the properties of clouds and surrounding aerosol (e.g., smoke optical thickness, cloud-drop size, and cloud reflection of solar radiation) from which the interaction of aerosol with clouds can be surmised. In order to minimize the effect of variations in the precipitable water vapor and in other smoke and cloud properties, biomass burning in the tropics is chosen as the study topic, and the results are averaged for numerous clouds with the same ambient smoke optical thickness.

It is shown in this study that the presence of dense smoke (an increase in the optical thickness from 0.1 to 2.0) can reduce the remotely sensed drop size of continental cloud drops from 15 to 9 µm. Due to both the high initial reflectance of clouds in the visible part of the spectrum and the presence of graphitic carbon, the average cloud reflectance at 0.64 µm is reduced from 0.71 to 0.68 for an increase in smoke optical thickness from 0.1 to 2.0. The measurements are compared to results from other years, and it is found that, as predicted, high concentration of aerosol particles causes a decrease in the cloud-drop size and that smoke darkens the bright Amazonian clouds. Comparison with theoretical computations based on Twomey's model show that by using the measured reduction in the cloud-drop size due to the presence of smoke it is possible to explain the reduction in the cloud reflectance at 0.64 µm for smoke imagery index of −0.02 to −0.03.

Smoke particles are hygroscopic and have a similar size distribution to maritime and anthropogenic sulfuric aerosol particles. Therefore, these results may also be representative of the interaction of sulfuric particles with clouds.

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Yoram J. Kaufman and Robert S. Fraser

Abstract

In order to utilize satellite measurements of optical thickness over land for estimating aerosol properties during air pollution episodes the optical thickness was measured from the surface and investigated. Aerosol optical thicknesses have been derived from solar transmission measurements in eight spectral bands within the band λ440–870 nm during the summers of 1980 and 1981 near Washington, DC. The optical thicknesses for the eight bands are strongly correlated. It was found that first eigenvalue of the covariance matrix of all observations accounts for 99% of the trace of the matrix. Since the measured aerosol optical thickness was closely proportional to the wavelength raised to a power, the aerosol size distribution derived from it is proportional to the diameter (d) raised to a power for the range of diameters between 0.1 to 1.0 μm. This power is insensitive to the total optical thickness. Changes in the aerosol optical thickness depend an several aerosol parameters, but it is difficult to identify the dominant one. The effects of relative humidity and accumulation mode concentration on the optical thickness are analyzed theoretically, and compared with the measurements.

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Bo-Cai Gao and Yoram J. Kaufman

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Using spectral imaging data acquired with the Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) from an ER-2 aircraft at 20-km altitude during the NASA FIRE Phase II Cirrus field program, it was found that narrow channels near the center of the strong 1.38-µm water vapor band are very effective in detecting thin cirrus clouds. The mechanisms for the cirrus detection are straightforward. In the absence of cirrus clouds, AVIRIS channels near 1.38 µm receive little scattered solar radiance by the surface and the low-level water clouds because of the total absorption of solar radiation by atmospheric water vapor located above them. When cirrus clouds are present, however, these channels receive solar radiance scattered by the cirrus clouds that contrasts well on the black background. A near-IR channel centered at 1.375 µm with a width of 30 nm has been selected for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) for remote sensing of cirrus clouds from space. MODIS is one of the sensors on the Earth Observing System, planned to be launched in 1998. The sensitivity of the new channel for detecting thin cirrus clouds during the daytime is expected to be one to two orders of magnitude better than the infrared emission techniques. This channel can also complement measurements of stratospheric aerosols with solar occultation techniques when the stratospheric aerosol optical depths at 0.55 µm are 0.01 or larger.

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Yoram J. Kaufman and Ming-Dah Chou

Abstract

Sulfur dioxide-derived cloud condensation nuclei are expected to enhance the planetary albedo, thereby cooling the planet. This effect might counteract the global warming expected from enhanced greenhouse gases. A detailed treatment of the relationship between fossil fuel burning and the SO2 effect on cloud albedo is implemented in a two-dimensional model for assessing the climate impact. Although there are large gaps in our knowledge of the atmospheric sources and sinks of sulfate aerosol, it is possible to reach some general conclusions. Using a conservative approach, results show that the cooling induced by the SO2 emission can presently counteract 50% of the CO2 greenhouse warming. Since 1980, a strong warming trend has been predicted by the model, 0.15°C, during the 1980–1990 period alone. The model predicts that by the year 2060 the SO2 cooling reduces climate warming by 0.5°C or 25% for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) business as usual (BAU) scenario and 0.2°C or 20% for scenario D (for a slow pace of fossil fuel burning). The hypothesis is examined that the different responses between the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and the Southern Hemisphere (SH) can be used to validate the presence of the SO2-induced cooling. Despite the fact that most of the SO2-induced cooling takes place in the Northern Hemispheric continents, the model-predicted difference in the temperature response between the NH and the SH of −0.2°C in 1980 is expected to remain about the same at least until 2060. This result is a combined effect of the much faster response of the continents than the oceans and of the larger forcing due to CO2 than due to the SO2. The climatic response to a complete filtering of SO2 from the emission products in order to reduce acid rain is also examined. The result is a warming surge of 0.4°C in the first few years after the elimination of the SO2 emission.

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Yuri Mekler, Yoram J. Kaufman, and Robert S. Fraser

Abstract

Theoretical two- and three-dimensional solutions of the radiative transfer equation have been applied to the earth-atmosphere system. Such solutions have not been verified experimentally. A laboratory experiment simulates such a system to test the theory. The atmosphere was simulated by latex spheres suspended in water and the ground by a nonuniform surface, half white and half black. A stable radiation source provided uniform illumination over the hydrosol. The upward radiance along a line orthogonal to the boundary of the two-halves field was recorded for different amounts of the hydrosol. The simulation is a well-defined radiative transfer experiment to test radiative transfer models involving nonuniform surfaces. Good agreement is obtained between the measured and theoretical results.

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Michael D. King, Yoram J. Kaufman, Didier Tanré, and Teruyuki Nakajima

Tropospheric aerosol particles originate from man-made sources such as urban/industrial activities, biomass burning associated with land use processes, wind-blown dust, and natural sources. Their interaction with sunlight and their effect on cloud microphysics form a major uncertainty in predicting climate change. Furthermore, the lifetime of only a few days causes high spatial variability in aerosol optical and radiative properties that requires global observations from space.

Remote sensing of tropospheric aerosol properties from space is reviewed both for present and planned national and international satellite sensors. Techniques that are being used to enhance our ability to characterize the global distribution of aerosol properties include well-calibrated multispectral radiometers, multispectral polarimeters, and multiangle spectroradiometers. Though most of these sensor systems rely primarily on visible to near-infrared spectral channels, the availability of thermal channels to aid in cloud screening is an important additional piece of information that is not always incorporated into the sensor design. In this paper, the various satellite sensor systems being developed by Europe, Japan, and the United States are described, and the advantages and disadvantages of each of these systems for aerosol applications are highlighted. An important underlying theme is that the remote sensing of aerosol properties, especially aerosol size distribution and single scattering albedo, is exceedingly difficult. As a consequence, no one sensor system is capable of providing totally unambiguous information, and hence a careful intercomparison of derived products from different sensors, together with a comprehensive network of ground-based sunphotometer and sky radiometer systems, is required to advance our quantitative understanding of global aerosol characteristics.

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Lorraine A. Remer, Yoram J. Kaufman, Zev Levin, and Steven Ghan

Abstract

The new generation of satellite sensors such as the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) will be able to detect and characterize global aerosols with an unprecedented accuracy. The question remains whether this accuracy will be sufficient to narrow the uncertainties in estimates of aerosol radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere. The discussion is narrowed to cloud-free direct forcing. Satellite remote sensing detects aerosol with the least amount of relative error when aerosol loading is high. Satellites are less effective when aerosol loading is low. The monthly mean results of two global aerosol transport models are used to simulate the spatial distribution of smoke aerosol in the Southern Hemisphere during the tropical biomass burning season. This spatial distribution allows us to determine that 87%–94% of the smoke aerosol forcing at the top of the atmosphere occurs in grid squares with sufficient signal-to-noise ratio to be detectable from space. The uncertainty of quantifying the smoke aerosol forcing in the Southern Hemisphere depends on the uncertainty introduced by errors in estimating the background aerosol, errors resulting from uncertainties in surface properties, and errors resulting from uncertainties in assumptions of aerosol properties. These three errors combine to give overall uncertainties of 1.2 to 2.2 W m−2 (16%–60%) in determining the Southern Hemisphere smoke aerosol forcing at the top of the atmosphere. Residual cloud contamination uncertainty is not included in these estimates. Strategies that use the satellite data to derive flux directly or use the data in conjunction with ground-based remote sensing and aerosol transport models can reduce these uncertainties.

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Yoram J. Kaufman, Robert S. Fraser, and Robert L. Mahoney

Abstract

Emission from burning of fossil fuels and biomass (associated with deforestation) generates a radiative forcing on the atmosphere and a possible climate chaw. Emitted trace gases heat the atmosphere through their greenhouse effect, while particulates formed from emitted SO2 cause cooling by increasing cloud albedos through alteration of droplet size distributions. This paper reviews the characteristics of the cooling effect and applies Twomey's theory to cheek whether the radiative balance favors heating or cooling for the cases of fossil fuel and biomass burning. It is also shown that although coal and oil emit 120 times as many CO2 molecules as SO2 molecules, each SO2 molecule is 50–1100 times more effective in cooling the atmosphere (through the effect of aerosol particles on cloud albedo) than a CO2 molecule is in heating it. Note that this ratio accounts for the large difference in the aerosol (3–10 days) and CO2 (7–100 years) lifetimes. It is concluded, that the cooling effect from coal and oil burning may presently range from 0.4 to 8 times the heating effect. Within this large uncertainty, it is presently more likely that fossil fuel burning causes cooling of the atmosphere rather than heating. Biomass burning associated with deforestation, on the other hand, is more likely to cause heating of the atmosphere than cooling since its aerosol cooling effect is only half that from fossil fuel burning and its heating effect is twice as large. Future increases in coal and oil burning, and the resultant increase in concentration of cloud condensation nuclei, may saturate the cooling effect, allowing the heating effect to dominate. For a doubling in the C02 concentration due to fossil fuel burning, the cooling effect is expected to be 0.1 to 0.3 of the heating effect.

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Oleg Dubovik, Brent Holben, Thomas F. Eck, Alexander Smirnov, Yoram J. Kaufman, Michael D. King, Didier Tanré, and Ilya Slutsker

Abstract

Aerosol radiative forcing is a critical, though variable and uncertain, component of the global climate. Yet climate models rely on sparse information of the aerosol optical properties. In situ measurements, though important in many respects, seldom provide measurements of the undisturbed aerosol in the entire atmospheric column. Here, 8 yr of worldwide distributed data from the AERONET network of ground-based radiometers were used to remotely sense the aerosol absorption and other optical properties in several key locations. Established procedures for maintaining and calibrating the global network of radiometers, cloud screening, and inversion techniques allow for a consistent retrieval of the optical properties of aerosol in locations with varying emission sources and conditions. The multiyear, multi-instrument observations show robust differentiation in both the magnitude and spectral dependence of the absorption—a property driving aerosol climate forcing, for desert dust, biomass burning, urban–industrial, and marine aerosols. Moreover, significant variability of the absorption for the same aerosol type appearing due to different meteorological and source characteristics as well as different emission characteristics are observed. It is expected that this aerosol characterization will help refine aerosol optical models and reduce uncertainties in satellite observations of the global aerosol and in modeling aerosol impacts on climate.

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Alexander Smirnov, Brent N. Holben, Yoram J. Kaufman, Oleg Dubovik, Thomas F. Eck, Ilya Slutsker, Christophe Pietras, and Rangasayi N. Halthore

Abstract

Systematic characterization of aerosol over the oceans is needed to understand the aerosol effect on climate and on transport of pollutants between continents. Reported are the results of a comprehensive optical and physical characterization of ambient aerosol in five key island locations of the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) of sun and sky radiometers, spanning over 2–5 yr. The results are compared with aerosol optical depths and size distributions reported in the literature over the last 30 yr. Aerosol found over the tropical Pacific Ocean (at three sites between 20°S and 20°N) still resembles mostly clean background conditions dominated by maritime aerosol. The optical thickness is remarkably stable with mean value of τ a(500 nm) = 0.07, mode value at τ am = 0.06, and standard deviation of 0.02–0.05. The average Ångström exponent range, from 0.3 to 0.7, characterizes the wavelength dependence of the optical thickness. Over the tropical to subtropical Atlantic (two stations at 7°S and 32°N) the optical thickness is significantly higher: τ a(500 nm) = 0.14 and τ am = 0.10 due to the frequent presence of dust, smoke, and urban–industrial aerosol. For both oceans the atmospheric column aerosol is characterized by a bimodal lognormal size distribution with a fine mode at effective radius R eff = 0.11 ± 0.01 μm and coarse mode at R eff = 2.1 ± 0.3 μm. A review of the published 150 historical ship measurements from the last three decades shows that τ am was around 0.07 to 0.12 in general agreement with the present finding. The information should be useful as a test bed for aerosol global models and aerosol representation in global climate models. With global human population expansion and industrialization, these measurements can serve in the twenty-first century as a basis to assess decadal changes in the aerosol concentration, properties, and radiative forcing of climate.

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