Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 17465-17501, 2012
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/12/17465/2012/
doi:10.5194/acpd-12-17465-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Modeling South America regional smoke plume: aerosol optical depth variability and shortwave surface forcing
N. E. Rosário1,2, K. M. Longo1, S. R. Freitas1, M. A. Yamasoe2, and R. M. Fonseca1
1National Institute for Space Research, Av dos Astronautas, 1.758, Jd. Granja – CEP: 12227-010, São José dos Campos, Brazil
2Atmospheric Sciences Department, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Abstract. Intra-seasonal variability of smoke aerosol optical depth (AOD) and downwelling solar irradiance at the surface during the 2002 biomass burning season in South America was modeled using the Coupled Chemistry-Aerosol-Tracer Transport model to the Brazilian developments on the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (CCATT-BRAMS). Measurements of AOD from the AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) and solar irradiance at the surface from the Solar Radiation Network (SolRad-NET) were used to evaluate model results. In general, the major features associated with AOD evolution over the southern part of the Amazon Basin and cerrado ecosystem are captured by the model. The main discrepancies were found for high aerosol loading events. In the northeastern portion of the Amazon Basin the model systematically underestimated AOD. This is likely due to the cloudy nature of the region, preventing accurate detection of the fire spots used in the emission model. Moreover, measured AOD were very often close to background conditions and emissions other than smoke were not considered in the simulation. Therefore, under the background scenario, one would expect the model to underestimate AOD. The issue of high aerosol loading events in the southern part of the Amazon and cerrado is also discussed in the context of emission shortcomings. The Cuiabá cerrado site was the only one where the highest quality AERONET data were unavailable. Thus, lower quality data were used. Root-mean-square-error (RMSE) between the model and observations decreased from 0.48 to 0.17 when extreme AOD events (AOD550 nm ≥ 1.0) and Cuiabá were excluded from analysis. Downward surface solar irradiance comparisons also followed similar trends when extremes AOD were excluded. This highlights the need to improve the modelling of the regional smoke plume in order to enhance the accuracy of the radiative energy budget. Aerosol optical model based on the mean intensive properties of smoke from the southern part of the Amazon Basin produced a radiative forcing efficiency (RFE) of −158 W m−2/AOD550 nm at noon. This value is in between −154 W m−2/AOD550 nm and −187 W m−2/AOD550 nm, the range obtained when spatial varying optical models were considered. The average 24 h surface forcing over the biomass burning season varied from −55 W m−2 close to smoke sources in the southern part of the Amazon Basin and cerrado to −10 W m−2 in remote regions of the Southeast Brazilian coast.

Citation: Rosário, N. E., Longo, K. M., Freitas, S. R., Yamasoe, M. A., and Fonseca, R. M.: Modeling South America regional smoke plume: aerosol optical depth variability and shortwave surface forcing, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 17465-17501, doi:10.5194/acpd-12-17465-2012, 2012.
 
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