1Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observation Spatiales, UMR 8190, CNRS and Université Pierre et Marie Curie and UVSQ, Paris, France
2Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique and ENS, Palaiseau, France
3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l'Environnement, CEA, CNRS and UVSQ, Saclay, France
4Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, CNRS and Université Paris Est Créteil Val de Marne/ Université Denis Diderot, Créteil, France
Abstract. The radiative forcing due to mineral dust over West Africa is investigated using the radiative code STREAMER, as well as remote sensing and in situ observations gathered during the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis Special Observing Period (AMMA SOP). We focus on two days (13 and 14 June 2006) of an intense and long-lasting episode of dust being lifted in remote sources in Chad and Sudan and transported across West Africa in the African easterly jet region, during which airborne operations were conducted at the regional scale, from the southern fringes of the Sahara to the Gulf of Guinea. Profiles of heating rates are computed from airborne LEANDRE 2 and space-borne CALIOP lidar observations using two mineral dust model constrained by airborne in situ data and ground-based sunphotometer obtained during the campaign. Complementary space-borne observations (from MODIS) and in-situ observations such as dropsondes are also used to take into account a realistic infrared contribution of the water vapour. We investigate the variability of the heating rate on the vertical within a dust plume, as well as the contribution of longwave radiation to the heating rate and the radiative forcing of dust during the nighttime. The sensitivity of the so-derived heating rate is also analyzed for some key variables for which the associated uncertainties are quite large. During daytime, the warming associated with the presence of dust was found to be between 1.5 K day−1 and 4 K day−1, on average, depending on altitude and latitude. Strong warming (i.e. heating rates as high as 8 K day−1) was also observed locally in some limited part of the dust plumes. Obviously, during nighttime much smaller values of heating/cooling are retrieved (less than ±1 K day−1) but large enough to modify the low tropospheric equilibrium. Furthermore, cooling is observed as the result of the longwave forcing in the dust layer, while warming is observed below the dust layer, in the monsoon layer.