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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-106
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-106
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 14 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 14 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Radiative Heating Rate Profiles over the Southeast Atlantic Ocean during the 2016 and 2017 Biomass Burning Seasons

Allison B. Marquardt Collow1,2, Mark A. Miller3, Lynne C. Trabachino4, Michael P. Jensen5, and Meng Wang5 Allison B. Marquardt Collow et al.
  • 1Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, Maryland, USA
  • 2Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
  • 3Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
  • 4Institute for Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheres, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
  • 5Environmental and Climate Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, USA

Abstract. Marine boundary layer clouds, including the transition from stratocumulus to cumulus, are poorly represented in numerical weather prediction and general circulation models. Further uncertainties in the cloud structure arise in the presence of biomass burning carbonaceous aerosol, as is the case over the southeast Atlantic Ocean where biomass burning aerosol is transported from the African continent. As the aerosol plume progresses across the southeast Atlantic Ocean, radiative heating within the aerosol layer has the potential to alter the thermodynamic environment and therefore the cloud structure; however, this has yet to be quantified. The deployment of the First Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Mobile Facility (AMF1) in support of the Layered Atlantic Smoke Interactions with Clouds (LASIC) field campaign provided a unique opportunity to collect observations of cloud and aerosol properties during two consecutive biomass burning seasons during July through October of 2016 and 2017 over Ascension Island (7.96 S, 14.35 W). Using observed profiles of temperature, humidity, and clouds from the LASIC field campaign, alongside aerosol optical properties from the Modern Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) as input for the Rapid Radiation Transfer Model (RRTM), profiles of the radiative heating rate due to aerosols and clouds were computed. Radiative heating is also assessed across the southeast Atlantic Ocean using an ensemble of back trajectories from the Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory Model (HYSPLIT). Idealized experiments using RRTM with and without aerosols and a range of values for the single scattering albedo demonstrate that shortwave (SW) heating within the aerosol layer above Ascension Island can locally range between 2 and 8 K per day, though impacts of the aerosol can be felt elsewhere in the atmospheric column. SW radiative heating due to biomass burning aerosol is not balanced by additional longwave cooling, and the net radiative impact results in a stabilization of the lower troposphere. However, these results are extremely sensitive to the single scatter albedo and the height of the aerosol plume with respect to the inversion layer.

Allison B. Marquardt Collow et al.

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Allison B. Marquardt Collow et al.

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Short summary
Uncertainties in marine boundary layer clouds arise in the presence of biomass burning aerosol, as is the case over the southeast Atlantic Ocean. Heating due to this aerosol, and it's impact on cloud structure has yet to be quantified. Radiation transfer experiments demonstrate that heating due to the absorption of solar radiation within the aerosol layer can locally range between 2 and 8 K per day, though impacts of the absorbing aerosol can be felt elsewhere in the atmospheric column.
Uncertainties in marine boundary layer clouds arise in the presence of biomass burning aerosol,...
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