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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 15 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 15 Oct 2019

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Modeling the smoky troposphere of the southeast Atlantic: a comparison to ORACLES airborne observations from September of 2016

Yohei Shinozuka1,2, Pablo E. Saide3, Gonzalo A. Ferrada4, Sharon P. Burton5, Richard Ferrare5, Sarah J. Doherty6,7, Hamish Gordon8, Karla Longo1, Marc Mallet9, Yan Feng10, Qiaoqiao Wang11, Yafang Cheng12, Amie Dobracki13, Steffen Freitag14, Steven G. Howell14, Samuel LeBlanc2,15, Connor Flynn16, Michal Segal-Rosenhaimer2,15, Kristina Pistone2,15, James R. Podolske2, Eric J. Stith15, Joseph Ryan Bennett15, Gregory R. Carmichael4, Arlindo da Silva17, Ravi Govindaraju18, Ruby Leung16, Yang Zhang19, Leonhard Pfister2, Ju-Mee Ryoo2,15, Jens Redemann20, Robert Wood7, and Paquita Zuidema13 Yohei Shinozuka et al.
  • 1Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland, USA
  • 2NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • 4Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
  • 5NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 6Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 7Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 8School of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 9CNRM, Météo-France and CNRS, UMR 3589, Toulouse, France
  • 10Environmental Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois, USA
  • 11Center for Air Pollution and Climate Change Research (APCC), Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, 510632 Guangzhou, China
  • 12Minerva Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany
  • 13Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA
  • 14University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
  • 15Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Moffett Field, California, USA
  • 16Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA
  • 17NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
  • 18Science Systems and Applications, Inc, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
  • 19Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  • 20School of Meteorology, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Abstract. The southeast Atlantic is home to well-defined smoke outflow from Africa coinciding vertically with extensive marine boundary-layer cloud decks, both reaching their climatological maxima in spatial extent around September. A framework is put forth for evaluating the performance of a range of global and regional aerosol models against observations made during the NASA ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) airborne mission in September 2016. The sparse airborne observations are first aggregated into 2° grid boxes and into three vertical layers: the cloud-topped marine boundary layer (MBL), the layer from cloud top to 3 km, and the 3–6 km layer. Aerosol extensive properties simulated for the entire study region for all September suggest that the 2016 ORACLES observations are reasonably representative of the regional monthly average, with systematic deviations of 30 % or less. All six models typically place the bottom of the smoke layer at lower altitudes than do the airborne lidar observations by 300–1400 m, whereas model aerosol top heights are within 0–500 m of the observations. All but one of the models that report carbonaceous aerosol masses underestimate the ratio of particulate extinction to the masses, a proxy for mass extinction efficiency, in 3–6 km. Notable findings on individual models include that WRF-CAM5 predicts the mass of black carbon and organic aerosols with minor (~ 10 % or less) biases. GEOS-5 overestimates the carbonaceous particle masses in the MBL by a factor of 3–6. Extinction coefficients in the free troposphere (FT) and above-cloud aerosol optical depth (ACAOD) are 10–30 % lower in WRF-CAM5, 30–50 % lower in GEOS-5, 10–40 % higher in GEOS-Chem, 10–20 % higher in EAM-E3SM except for the practically unbiased 3–6 km extinction, and 20–70 % lower in the Unified Model, than the airborne in situ, lidar and sunphotometer measurements. ALADIN-Climate also underestimates the ACAOD, by 30 %. GEOS-5 and GEOS-Chem predict carbon monoxide in the MBL with small (10 % or less) negative biases, despite their overestimates of carbonaceous aerosol masses. Overall, this study highlights a new approach to utilizing airborne aerosol measurements for model diagnosis.

Yohei Shinozuka et al.

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Yohei Shinozuka et al.

Yohei Shinozuka et al.


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