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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-1119
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 05 Mar 2018

Research article | 05 Mar 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Aerosol optical properties over Europe: an evaluation of the AQMEII Phase 3 simulations against satellite observations

Laura Palacios-Peña1, Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero1, Rocío Baró1, Alessandra Balzarini2, Roberto Bianconi3, Gabriele Curci4,5, Tony Christian Landi6, Guido Pirovano2, Marje Prank7,8, Angelo Riccio9, Paolo Tuccella4,5, and Stefano Galmarini10 Laura Palacios-Peña et al.
  • 1Physics of the Earth, Department of Physics, Regional Campus of International Excellence (Campus Mare Nostrum), University of Murcia (UMU-MAR), 30100 Murcia, Spain
  • 2Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico (RSE SpA), Milano, Italy
  • 3Enviroware srl, Concorezzo, MB, Italy
  • 4CETEMPS, University of L'Aquila, Italy
  • 5Dept. Physical and Chemical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Italy
  • 6CNR – Institute for Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Bologna, Italy
  • 7Finnish Meteorological Institute, Atmospheric Composition Research Unit, Helsinki, Finland
  • 8Cornell University, Atmospheric and Earth Sciences, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 9University Parthenope of Naples, Dept. of Science and Technology, Napoli, Italy
  • 10European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Directorate for Energy, Transport and Climate, Air and Climate Unit, Ispra (VA), Italy

Abstract. The main uncertainties in estimates of changes in the Earth's energy budget are related to the role of atmospheric aerosols. These changes are caused mainly by aerosol-radiation (ARI) and aerosol-cloud interactions (ACI), which heavily depend on aerosol properties. From the 1980s, many international modelling initiatives have studied atmospheric aerosols and their climate effects. Phase 3 of the Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative (AQMEII) focuses on evaluating and intercomparing regional and linked global/regional modelling systems by collaborating with the Task Force on the Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution Phase 2 (HTAP2) initiative. Within this framework, the main aim of this work was to evaluate the representation of aerosol optical depth (AOD) and the Ångström exponent (AE) by the AQMEII Phase 3 simulations over Europe. The evaluation was made using satellite data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors on board the Terra and Aqua platforms. The results indicated that the skills of AQMEII simulations in the AOD representation produced fewer errors than in the AE. Regardless of the models and emissions used, models were skilful at representing the low and medium AOD values observed (below 0.5). However, high values (close to 1.0) were underestimated for biomass burning episodes, and were overestimated for desert dust contributions, related mainly to emission and boundary conditions. Despite this behaviour, the spatial and temporal variability of this variable was well-represented by all the models. Generally, the AE evaluation showed more serious errors than the AOD evaluation. Moreover, the observed variability of this parameter was strongly underestimated in all the simulations.

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