Paul Ginoux

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States

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Publications (126)262.77 Total impact

  • 02/2014; 27(5).
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    ABSTRACT: [1] We describe and evaluate atmospheric chemistry in the newly developed Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory chemistry-climate model (GFDL AM3) and apply it to investigate the net impact of preindustrial (PI) to present (PD) changes in short-lived pollutant emissions (ozone precursors, sulfur dioxide, and carbonaceous aerosols) and methane concentration on atmospheric composition and climate forcing. The inclusion of online troposphere-stratosphere interactions, gas-aerosol chemistry, and aerosol-cloud interactions (including direct and indirect aerosol radiative effects) in AM3 enables a more complete representation of interactions among short-lived species, and thus their net climate impact, than was considered in previous climate assessments. The base AM3 simulation, driven with observed sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice cover (SIC) over the period 1981–2007, generally reproduces the observed mean magnitude, spatial distribution, and seasonal cycle of tropospheric ozone and carbon monoxide. The global mean aerosol optical depth in our base simulation is within 5% of satellite measurements over the 1982–2006 time period. We conduct a pair of simulations in which only the short-lived pollutant emissions and methane concentrations are changed from PI (1860) to PD (2000) levels (i.e., SST, SIC, greenhouse gases, and ozone-depleting substances are held at PD levels). From the PI to PD, we find that changes in short-lived pollutant emissions and methane have caused the tropospheric ozone burden to increase by 39% and the global burdens of sulfate, black carbon, and organic carbon to increase by factors of 3, 2.4, and 1.4, respectively. Tropospheric hydroxyl concentration decreases by 7%, showing that increases in OH sinks (methane, carbon monoxide, nonmethane volatile organic compounds, and sulfur dioxide) dominate over sources (ozone and nitrogen oxides) in the model. Combined changes in tropospheric ozone and aerosols cause a net negative top-of-the-atmosphere radiative forcing perturbation (−1.05 W m−2) indicating that the negative forcing (direct plus indirect) from aerosol changes dominates over the positive forcing due to ozone increases, thus masking nearly half of the PI to PD positive forcing from long-lived greenhouse gases globally, consistent with other current generation chemistry-climate models.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 07/2013; 118(14).
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we report the development of a time dependency of global dust source and its impact on dust simulation in the Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport (GOCART) model. We determine the surface bareness using the 8 km normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) observed from the advanced very high resolution radiometer satellite. The results are used to analyze the temporal variations of surface bareness in 22 global dust source regions. One half of these regions can be considered permanent dust source regions where NDVI is always less than 0.15, while the other half shows substantial seasonality of NDVI. This NDVI-based surface bareness map is then used, along with the soil and topographic characteristics, to construct a dynamic dust source function for simulating dust emissions with the GOCART model. We divide the 22 dust source regions into three groups of (I) permanent desert, (II) seasonally changing bareness that regulates dust emissions, and (III) seasonally changing bareness that has little effect on dust emission. Compared with the GOCART results with the previously employed static dust source function, the simulation with the new dynamic source function shows significant improvements in category II regions. Even though the global improvement of the aerosol optical depth (AOD) is rather small when compared with satellite and ground-based remote sensing observations, we found a clear and significant effect of the new dust source on seasonal variation of dust emission and dust optical depth near the source regions. Globally, we have found that the permanent bare land contributes to 88% of the total dust emission, whereas the grassland and cultivated crops land contribute to about 12%. Our results suggest the potential of using NDVI over a vegetated area to link the dust emission with land cover and land use change for air quality and climate change studies.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 01/2013; 118:1-16. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Black carbon (BC) aerosol absorbs solar radiation and can act as cloud condensation nucleus and ice formation nucleus. The current generation of climate models have difficulty in accurately predicting global-scale BC concentrations. Previously, an ensemble of such models was compared to measurements, revealing model biases in the tropical troposphere and in the polar troposphere. Here global aerosol distributions are simulated using different parameterizations of wet removal, and model results are compared to BC profiles observed in the remote atmosphere to explore the possible sources of these biases. The model-data comparison suggests a slow removal of BC aerosol during transport to the Arctic in winter and spring, because ice crystal growth causes evaporation of liquid cloud via the Bergeron process and, hence, release of BC aerosol back to ambient air. By contrast, more efficient model wet removal is needed in the cold upper troposphere over the tropical Pacific. Parcel model simulations with detailed droplet and ice nucleation and growth processes suggest that ice formation in this region may be suppressed due to a lack of ice nuclei (mainly insoluble dust particles) in the remote atmosphere, allowing liquid and mixed-phase clouds to persist under freezing temperatures, and forming liquid precipitation capable of removing aerosol incorporated in cloud water. Falling ice crystals can scavenge droplets in lower clouds, which also results in efficient removal of cloud condensation nuclei. The combination of models with global-scale BC measurements in this study has provided new, latitude-dependent information on ice formation processes in the atmosphere, and highlights the importance of a consistent treatment of aerosol and moist physics in climate models.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 12/2012; 117(D23):23205-. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The direct radiative forcing of the climate system includes effects due to scattering and absorbing aerosols. This study explores how important physical climate characteristics contribute to the magnitudes of the direct radiative forcings (DRF) from anthropogenic sulfate, black carbon, and organic carbon. For this purpose, we employ the GFDL CM2.1 global climate model, which has reasonable aerosol concentrations and reconstruction of twentieth-century climate change. Sulfate and carbonaceous aerosols constitute the most important anthropogenic aerosol perturbations to the climate system and provide striking contrasts between primarily scattering (sulfate and organic carbon) and primarily absorbing (black carbon) species. The quantitative roles of cloud coverage, surface albedo, and relative humidity in governing the sign and magnitude of all-sky top-of-atmosphere (TOA) forcings are examined. Clouds reduce the global mean sulfate TOA DRF by almost 50%, reduce the global mean organic carbon TOA DRF by more than 30%, and increase the global mean black carbon TOA DRF by almost 80%. Sulfate forcing is increased by over 50% as a result of hygroscopic growth, while high-albedo surfaces are found to have only a minor (less than 10%) impact on all global mean forcings. Although the radiative forcing magnitudes are subject to uncertainties in the state of mixing of the aerosol species, it is clear that fundamental physical climate characteristics play a large role in governing aerosol direct radiative forcing magnitudes.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 10/2012; 117(D20):20203-. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our understanding of the global dust cycle is limited by a dearth of information about dust sources, especially small-scale features which could account for a large fraction of global emissions. Here we present a global-scale high-resolution (0.1°) mapping of sources based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Deep Blue estimates of dust optical depth in conjunction with other data sets including land use. We ascribe dust sources to natural and anthropogenic (primarily agricultural) origins, calculate their respective contributions to emissions, and extensively compare these products against literature. Natural dust sources globally account for 75% of emissions; anthropogenic sources account for 25%. North Africa accounts for 55% of global dust emissions with only 8% being anthropogenic, mostly from the Sahel. Elsewhere, anthropogenic dust emissions can be much higher (75% in Australia). Hydrologic dust sources (e.g., ephemeral water bodies) account for 31% worldwide; 15% of them are natural while 85% are anthropogenic. Globally, 20% of emissions are from vegetated surfaces, primarily desert shrublands and agricultural lands. Since anthropogenic dust sources are associated with land use and ephemeral water bodies, both in turn linked to the hydrological cycle, their emissions are affected by climate variability. Such changes in dust emissions can impact climate, air quality, and human health. Improved dust emission estimates will require a better mapping of threshold wind velocities, vegetation dynamics, and surface conditions (soil moisture and land use) especially in the sensitive regions identified here, as well as improved ability to address small-scale convective processes producing dust via cold pool (haboob) events frequent in monsoon regimes.
    Reviews of Geophysics 09/2012; 50(3):3005-. · 13.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Emissions of air pollutants and their precursors determine regional air quality and can alter climate. Climate change can perturb the long-range transport, chemical processing, and local meteorology that influence air pollution. We review the implications of projected changes in methane (CH(4)), ozone precursors (O(3)), and aerosols for climate (expressed in terms of the radiative forcing metric or changes in global surface temperature) and hemispheric-to-continental scale air quality. Reducing the O(3) precursor CH(4) would slow near-term warming by decreasing both CH(4) and tropospheric O(3). Uncertainty remains as to the net climate forcing from anthropogenic nitrogen oxide (NO(x)) emissions, which increase tropospheric O(3) (warming) but also increase aerosols and decrease CH(4) (both cooling). Anthropogenic emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) and non-CH(4) volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) warm by increasing both O(3) and CH(4). Radiative impacts from secondary organic aerosols (SOA) are poorly understood. Black carbon emission controls, by reducing the absorption of sunlight in the atmosphere and on snow and ice, have the potential to slow near-term warming, but uncertainties in coincident emissions of reflective (cooling) aerosols and poorly constrained cloud indirect effects confound robust estimates of net climate impacts. Reducing sulfate and nitrate aerosols would improve air quality and lessen interference with the hydrologic cycle, but lead to warming. A holistic and balanced view is thus needed to assess how air pollution controls influence climate; a first step towards this goal involves estimating net climate impacts from individual emission sectors. Modeling and observational analyses suggest a warming climate degrades air quality (increasing surface O(3) and particulate matter) in many populated regions, including during pollution episodes. Prior Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios (SRES) allowed unconstrained growth, whereas the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios assume uniformly an aggressive reduction, of air pollutant emissions. New estimates from the current generation of chemistry-climate models with RCP emissions thus project improved air quality over the next century relative to those using the IPCC SRES scenarios. These two sets of projections likely bracket possible futures. We find that uncertainty in emission-driven changes in air quality is generally greater than uncertainty in climate-driven changes. Confidence in air quality projections is limited by the reliability of anthropogenic emission trajectories and the uncertainties in regional climate responses, feedbacks with the terrestrial biosphere, and oxidation pathways affecting O(3) and SOA.
    Chemical Society Reviews 08/2012; 41(19):6663-83. · 24.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The global distribution of dust column burden derived from MODIS Deep Blue aerosol products is compared to NH3 column burden retrieved from IASI infrared spectra. We found similarities in their spatial distributions, in particular their hot spots are often collocated over croplands and to a lesser extent pastures. Globally, we found 22% of dust burden collocated with NH3, with only 1% difference between land-use databases. This confirms the importance of anthropogenic dust from agriculture. Regionally, the Indian subcontinent has the highest amount of dust mixed with NH3 (26%), mostly over cropland and during the pre-monsoon season. North Africa represents 50% of total dust burden but accounts for only 4% of mixed dust, which is found over croplands and pastures in Sahel and the coastal region of the Mediterranean. In order to evaluate the radiative effect of this mixing on dust optical properties, we derive the mass extinction efficiency for various mixtures of dust and NH3, using AERONET sunphotometers data. We found that for dusty days the coarse mode mass extinction efficiency decreases from 0.62 to 0.48 m2 g-1 as NH3 burden increases from 0 to 40 mg m-2. The fine mode extinction efficiency, ranging from 4 to 16 m2 g-1, does not appear to depend on NH3 concentration or relative humidity but rather on mineralogical composition and mixing with other aerosols. Our results imply that a significant amount of dust is already mixed with ammonium salt before its long range transport. This in turn will affect dust lifetime, and its interactions with radiation and cloud properties.
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 01/2012; 12:7351-7363. · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We synthesize multiple ground-based and satellite measurements to track the physical and chemical evolution of biomass burning smoke plumes transported from western Canada to the northeastern U.S. This multiple data set case study is an advantageous methodology compared with using individual or small groups of data sets, each with their own limitations. The case study analyzed is a Canadian boreal forest fire event on July 4, 2006 with carbonaceous aerosol smoke emission magnitudes comparable to those during the summer fire seasons of the previous decade. We track long-range transport of these aerosol plumes with data from space-borne remote sensing satellite instruments (MODIS, OMI, MISR, CALIOP lidar, AIRS) and ground-based in situ and remote aerosol observations (AERONET CIMEL sky/Sun photometer, MPLNET lidar, IMPROVE, EPA AirNow). Convective lofting elevated smoke emissions above the boundary layer into the free troposphere, where high speed winds aloft led to rapid, long-range transport. Aerosol layer subsidence occurred during transport due to a region of surface high pressure. Smoke aerosols reaching the boundary layer led to surface fine particulate matter (PM2.5) enhancements accompanied by changes in aerosol composition as the plume mixed with anthropogenic aerosols over the northeastern U.S. The extensive coverage of this smoke plume over the northeastern U.S. affected regional air quality, with increases of 10-20 μg m-3 PM2.5 attributable to biomass burning smoke aerosols and EPA 24-hour PM2.5 standard exceedances along the U.S. East Coast. Although each data set individually provides a limited view of the transport of smoke emissions, we demonstrate that a multi-data set approach results in a more comprehensive view of potential impacts due to long-range transport of smoke from a less extreme fire event. Our case study demonstrates that fires emit smoke aerosols that under certain meteorological conditions can degrade regional air quality 3000 km from the source region, with additional implications for aerosol radiative forcing and regional haze over the northeastern U.S.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 11/2011; 116(D22):22209-. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1] The CALIOP (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization) layer product is used for a multimodel evaluation of the vertical distribution of aerosols. Annual and seasonal aerosol extinction profiles are analyzed over 13 sub-continental regions representative of industrial, dust, and biomass burning pollution, from CALIOP 2007–2009 observations and from AeroCom (Aerosol Comparisons between Observations and Models) 2000 simulations. An extinction mean height diagnostic (Z a) is defined to quantitatively assess the models' performance. It is calculated over the 0–6 km and 0–10 km altitude ranges by weighting the altitude of each 100 m altitude layer by its aerosol extinction coefficient. The mean extinction profiles derived from CALIOP layer products provide consistent regional and seasonal specificities and a low inter-annual variability. While the outputs from most models are significantly correlated with the observed Z a climatologies, some do better than others, and 2 of the 12 models perform particularly well in all seasons. Over industrial and maritime regions, most models show higher Z a than observed by CALIOP, whereas over the African and Chinese dust source regions, Z a is underestimated during Northern Hemisphere Spring and Summer. The positive model bias in Z a is mainly due to an overestimate of the extinction above 6 km. Potential CALIOP and model limitations, and methodological factors that might contribute to the differences are discussed. Citation: Koffi, B., et al. (2012), Application of the CALIOP layer product to evaluate the vertical distribution of aerosols estimated by global models: AeroCom phase I results, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D10201, doi:10.1029/2011JD016858.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 07/2011; 117(D10201):16858. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Climate 07/2011; 24:3484-3519. · 4.36 Impact Factor
  • Fuyu Li, Paul Ginoux, V. Ramaswamy
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    ABSTRACT: The transport of Patagonian dust to Antarctica is investigated by using the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Atmospheric Model with online aerosol, in combination with trajectory analysis and satellite observations. The southern coastal region of northern Patagonia and the San Julian's Great depression are identified as major sources in Patagonia. Trajectory analysis indicates that only 13%–20% of air masses from Patagonia reach Antarctica within 10 days, with $^1 / _4$ and $^3 / _4$ going to West and East Antarctica, respectively. Almost twice as many trajectories from the San Julian's Great Depression reach Antarctica compared to the more northern Patagonian source. It takes ∼7 days for Patagonian dust to be transported to East Antarctica, and 4–5 days to West Antarctica. The transport to East Antarctica is driven by the low-pressure systems moving eastward in the subpolar low-pressure zone, whereas a dust event going directly southward to West Antarctica typically happens when a high-pressure system blocks the depressions moving through the Drake Passage. Demonstrating these features, respectively, by following the journey of two typical dust plumes from Patagonia to East and West Antarctica, this study clarifies how climatic factors may affect the amount of dust reaching the Antarctic surface.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 01/2010; 115. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the plausible causes for the observed high dust concentrations in Antarctic ice cores during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is crucial for interpreting the Antarctic dust records in the past climates and could provide insights into dust variability in future climates. Using the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) General Circulation Models, we conduct an investigation into the various factors modulating dust emission, transport, and deposition, with a view toward an improved quantification of the LGM dust enhancements in the Antarctic ice cores. The model simulations show that the expansion of source areas and changes in the Antarctic ice accumulation rates together can account for most of the observed increase of dust concentrations in the Vostok, Dome C, and Taylor Dome cores, but there is an overestimate of the LGM/present ratio in the case of the Byrd core. The source expansion due to the lowering of sea level yields a factor of 2–3 higher contribution than that due to the reduction of continental vegetation. The changes in other climate parameters (e.g., SH precipitation change) are estimated to be relatively less important within the context of this sensitivity study, while the model-simulated LGM surface winds yield a 20%–30% reduction rather than an increase in dust deposition in Antarctica. This research yields insights toward a fundamental understanding of the causes for the significant enhancement of the dust deposition in the Antarctic ice cores during the LGM.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 01/2010; 115. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Desert dust plays an important role in the climate system through its impact on Earth's radiative budget and its role in the biogeochemical cycle as a source of iron in high-nutrient-low-chlorophyll regions. A large degree of diversity exists between the many global models that simulate the dust cycle to estimate its impact on climate. We present the results of a broad intercomparison of a total of 15 global aerosol models within the AeroCom project. Each model is compared to observations focusing on variables responsible for the uncertainties in estimating the direct radiative effect and the dust impact on the biogeochemical cycle, i.e., aerosol optical depth (AOD) and dust deposition. Additional comparisons to Angström Exponent (AE), coarse mode AOD and dust surface concentration are included to extend the assessment of model performance. These datasets form a benchmark data set which is proposed for model inspection and future dust model developments. In general, models perform better in simulating climatology of vertically averaged integrated parameters (AOD and AE) in dusty sites than they do with total deposition and surface concentration. Almost all models overestimate deposition fluxes over Europe, the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and ice core data. Differences among the models arise when simulating deposition at remote sites with low fluxes over the Pacific and the Southern Atlantic Ocean. This study also highlights important differences in models ability to reproduce the deposition flux over Antarctica. The cause of this discrepancy could not be identified but different dust regimes at each site and issues with data quality should be considered. Models generally simulate better surface concentration at stations downwind of the main sources than at remote ones. Likewise, they simulate better surface concentration at stations affected by Saharan dust than at stations affected by Asian dust. Most models simulate the gradient in AOD and AE between the different dusty regions, however the seasonality and magnitude of both variables is better simulated at African stations than Middle East ones. The models also reproduce the dust transport across the Atlantic in terms of both AOD and AE; they simulate the offshore transport of West Africa throughout the year and limit the transport across the Atlantic to the summer months, yet overestimating the AOD and transporting too fine particles. However, most of the models do not reproduce the southward displacement of the dust cloud during the winter responsible of the transport of dust into South America. Based on the dependency of AOD on aerosol burden and size distribution we use model data bias with respect to AOD and AE and infer on the over/under estimation of the dust emissions. According to this we suggest the emissions in the Sahara be between 792 and 2271 Tg/yr and the one in the Middle East between 212 and 329 Tg/yr.
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 01/2010; · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1] Mineral dust interacts with radiation and impacts both the regional and global climate. The relative contribution of natural and anthropogenic dust sources, however, remains largely uncertain. Although human activities disturb soils and therefore enhance wind erosion, their contribution to global dust emission has never been directly evaluated because of a lack of data. The retrieval of aerosol properties over land, including deserts, using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Deep Blue algorithm makes the first direct characterization of the origin of individual sources possible. In order to separate freshly emitted dust from other aerosol types and aged dust particles, the spectral dependence of the single scattering albedo and the Angstrom wavelength exponent are used. Four years of data from the eastern part of West Africa, which includes one of the most active natural dust sources and the highest population density on the continent, are processed. Sources are identified on the basis of the persistence of significant aerosol optical depth from freshly emitted dust, and the origin is characterized as natural or anthropogenic on the basis of a land use data set. Our results indicate that although anthropogenic dust is observed less frequently and with lower optical depth than dust from natural sources in this particular region, it occupies a large area covering most of northern Nigeria and southern Chad, around Lake Chad. In addition, smaller anthropogenic sources are found as far south as 5° of latitude north, well outside the domain of most dust source inventories.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 01/2010; 115. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A wind-blown dust emission algorithm was developed by matching the frequency of high-aerosol optical depth (AOD) events derived from the MODIS Deep Blue algorithm with the frequency of friction velocities derived from National Centers for Environmental Prediction's North American Mesoscale model. The threshold friction velocity is defined as the velocity that has the same frequency of as the 0.75 AOD. The AODs are converted to an emission flux that is used to compute the linear regression slope of the flux to the friction velocity. The slope represents the potential of a particular land surface to produce airborne dust and, in combination with the friction velocity, is used as a predictor for wind-blown dust emissions. Calculations for a test period of June and July 2007 showed the model prediction to capture the major measured plume events in timing and magnitude, although peak events tended to be overpredicted and many of the near-background level ambient concentrations were underpredicted. Most of the airborne dust loadings are attributed to locations with relatively low threshold friction velocities (
    Journal of Geophysical Research 01/2010; 115. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A new stratiform cloud scheme including a two-moment bulk microphysics module, a cloud cover parameterization allowing ice supersaturation, and an ice nucleation parameterization has been implemented into the recently developed GFDL AM3 general circulation model (GCM) as part of an effort to treat aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions more realistically. Unlike the original scheme, the new scheme facilitates the study of cloud-ice-aerosol interactions via influences of dust and sulfate on ice nucleation. While liquid and cloud ice water path associated with stratiform clouds are similar for the new and the original scheme, column integrated droplet numbers and global frequency distributions (PDFs) of droplet effective radii differ significantly. This difference is in part due to a difference in the implementation of the Wegener-Bergeron-Findeisen (WBF) mechanism, which leads to a larger contribution from super-cooled droplets in the original scheme. Clouds are more likely to be either completely glaciated or liquid due to the WBF mechanism in the new scheme. Super-saturations over ice simulated with the new scheme are in qualitative agreement with observations, and PDFs of ice numbers and effective radii appear reasonable in the light of observations. Especially, the temperature dependence of ice numbers qualitatively agrees with in-situ observations. The global average long-wave cloud forcing decreases in comparison to the original scheme as expected when super-saturation over ice is allowed. Anthropogenic aerosols lead to a larger decrease in short-wave absorption (SWABS) in the new model setup, but outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) decreases as well, so that the net effect of including anthropogenic aerosols on the net radiation at the top of the atmosphere (netradTOA = SWABS-OLR) is of similar magnitude for the new and the original scheme.
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 01/2010; · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evaluation of black carbon estimations in global aerosol models
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 01/2010; · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: No abstract available.
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 12/2009; 10:79-81. · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aerosol indirect effects continue to constitute one of the most important uncertainties for anthropogenic climate perturbations. Within the international AEROCOM initiative, the representation of aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions in ten different general circulation models (GCMs) is evaluated using three satellite datasets. The focus is on stratiform liquid water clouds since most GCMs do not include ice nucleation effects, and none of the models explicitly parameterizes aerosol effects on convective clouds. We compute statistical relationships between aerosol optical depth (τa) and various cloud and radiation quantities in a manner that is consistent between the models and the satellite data. It is found that the model-simulated influence of aerosols on cloud droplet number concentration (Nd) compares relatively well to the satellite data at least over the ocean. The relationship between τa and liquid water path is simulated much too strongly by the models. It is shown that this is partly related to the representation of the second aerosol indirect effect in terms of autoconversion. A positive relationship between total cloud fraction (fcld) and τa as found in the satellite data is simulated by the majority of the models, albeit less strongly than that in the satellite data in most of them. In a discussion of the hypotheses proposed in the literature to explain the satellite-derived strong fcld – τa relationship, our results indicate that none can be identified as unique explanation. Relationships similar to the ones found in satellite data between τa and cloud top temperature or outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) are simulated by only a few GCMs. The GCMs that simulate a negative OLR – τa relationship show a strong positive correlation between τa and fcld. The short-wave total aerosol radiative forcing as simulated by the GCMs is strongly influenced by the simulated anthropogenic fraction of τa, and parameterisation assumptions such as a lower bound on Nd. Nevertheless, the strengths of the statistical relationships are good predictors for the aerosol forcings in the models. An estimate of the total short-wave aerosol forcing inferred from the combination of these predictors for the modelled forcings with the satellite-derived statistical relationships yields a global annual mean value of −1.5±0.5 Wm−2. An alternative estimate obtained by scaling the simulated clear- and cloudy-sky forcings with estimates of anthropogenic τa and satellite-retrieved Nd – τa regression slopes, respectively, yields a global annual mean clear-sky (aerosol direct effect) estimate of −0.4±0.2 Wm−2 and a cloudy-sky (aerosol indirect effect) estimate of −0.7±0.5 Wm−2, with a total estimate of −1.2±0.4 Wm−2.
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions. 01/2009;

Publication Stats

5k Citations
262.77 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006
    • Princeton University
      • Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • 2002–2004
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
      • Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
      Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • 1999
    • National Center for Atmospheric Research
      • Division of Atmospheric Chemistry
      Boulder, Colorado, United States