1Laboratoire d'Optique Atmosphérique, Université Lille 1 CNRS/UMR8518, 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq, France
2Institut National de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques, Parc Technologique Alata, 60550 Verneuil en Halatte, France
3Laboratoire d'Aérologie, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Université Paul Sabatier UMR/CNRS 5560, 14 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
4Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Ecole Polytechnique UMR/CNRS 8539, 91128 Palaiseau, France
Abstract. The present study aims at investigating the shortwave aerosol direct radiative forcing (ADRF) and its feedback on air temperature and atmospheric dynamics during a major fire event that occurred in Russia during August 2010. The methodology is based on an off-line coupling between the CHIMERE chemistry-transport and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) models. First, simulations for the period 5–12 August 2010 have been evaluated by using AERONET and satellite measurements of the POLarization and Directionality of the Earth's Reflectance (POLDER) and the Cloud-Aerosol LIdar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) sensors. During this period, elevated POLDER AOT are found over a large part of Eastern Europe with values above 2 (at 550 nm) in the aerosol plume. According to CALIOP observations, particles remain confined within the first five kilometres of the atmospheric layer. Comparisons with satellite measurements show the ability of CHIMERE to reproduce the regional and vertical distribution of aerosols during their transport from the source region. Over Moscow, AERONET measurements indicate an important increase of AOT (340 nm) from 0.7 on 5 August to 2–4 between 6 and 10 August when the aerosol plume is advected over the city. Particles are mainly observed in the fine size mode (radius in the range 0.2–0.4 μm) and are characterized by elevated SSA (0.95–0.96 between 440 and 1020 nm). Also, comparisons of simulations with AERONET measurements show that aerosol physical-optical properties (size distribution, AOT, SSA) have been well simulated over Moscow in term of intensity and/or spectral dependence. Secondly, modelled aerosol optical properties have been used as input in the radiative transfer code of WRF to evaluate their direct radiative impact. Simulations indicate a significant reduction of solar radiation at the ground (up to 80–150 W m−2 in diurnal-averaged) over a large part of Eastern Europe due to the presence of the aerosol plume. This ADRF causes an important reduction of the near-surface air temperature between 0.2 and 2.6°C at a regional scale. Moscow has been also affected by the aerosol plume, especially between 6 and 10 August. During this period, aerosol causes a significant reduction of surface shortwave radiation (up to 70–84 W m−2 in diurnal-averaged) with a moderate part (20–30%) due to solar absorption within the aerosol layer. The resulting feedbacks lead to a cooling of the air up to 1.6°C at the surface and 0.1°C at an altitude of 1500–2000 m (in diurnal-averaged), that contribute to stabilize the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). Indeed, a reduction of the ABL height of 13 to 65% have been simulated during daytime in presence of aerosols. This decrease is the result of a lower air entrainment as the vertical wind speed in the ABL is shown to be reduced by 5 to 80% (at midday) when the feedback of the ADRF is taken into account. In turn, CHIMERE simulations driven by the WRF meteorological fields including this ADRF feedback result in a large increase in the modeled near-surface PM10 concentrations (up to 99%) due to their lower vertical dilution in the ABL, which tend to reduce model biases with the ground PM10 values observed over Moscow during this specific period.