Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute; Ministery Of Infrastructure And The Environment

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Comparison of south Atlantic aerosol direct radiative effect over clouds from SCIAMACHY, POLDER and OMI/MODIS
by M. de Graaf (KNMI), R. Schulte (KNMI), F. Peers (University of Exeter), F. Waquet (Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille), L.G. Tilstra (KNMI)P. Stammes (KNMI)

. The direct radiative effect (DRE) of aerosols above
clouds has been found to be significant over the south-east
Atlantic Ocean during the African biomass burning season
due to elevated smoke layers absorbing radiation above the
cloud deck. So far, global climate models have been unsuccessful in reproducing the high DRE values measured by various satellite instruments. Meanwhile, the radiative effects
by aerosols have been identified as the largest source of uncertainty in global climate models. In this paper, three independent satellite datasets of DRE during the biomass burning season in 2006 are compared to constrain the southeast Atlantic radiation budget. The DRE of aerosols above
clouds is derived from the spectrometer SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY), the polarimeter Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectances (POLDER), and collocated measurements by the spectrometer Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the imager Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). All three datasets
confirm the high DRE values during the biomass season,
underlining the relevance of local aerosol effects. Differences between the instruments can be attributed mainly to
sampling issues. When these are accounted for, the remaining differences can be explained by a higher cloud optical thickness (COT) derived from POLDER compared to
the other instruments and a neglect of aerosol optical thickness (AOT) at shortwave infrared (SWIR) wavelengths in
the method used for SCIAMACHY and OMI–MODIS. The
higher COT from POLDER by itself can explain the difference found in DRE between POLDER and the other instruments. The AOT underestimation is mainly evident at high
values of the aerosol DRE and accounts for about a third of
the difference between POLDER and OMI–MODIS DRE.
The datasets from POLDER and OMI–MODIS effectively
provide lower and upper bounds for the aerosol DRE over
clouds over the south-east Atlantic, which can be used to
challenge global circulation models (GCMs). Comparisons
of model and satellite datasets should also account for sampling issues. The complementary DRE retrievals from OMI–
MODIS and POLDER may benefit from upcoming satellite
missions that combine spectrometer and polarimeter measurements.

Bibliographic data
de Graaf, M., R. Schulte, F. Peers, F. Waquet, L.G. Tilstra and P. Stammes, Comparison of south Atlantic aerosol direct radiative effect over clouds from SCIAMACHY, POLDER and OMI/MODIS
Atm. Chem. Phys., 2020, 20, 11, 6707-6723, doi:
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