Influence of the vertical absorption profile of mixed Asian dust plumes on aerosol direct radiative forcing over East Asia

Y. M. Noh, KwonHo Lee, Sungkyun Shin, Kwanchul Kim, Detlef Mueller

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We estimate the aerosol direct radiative forcing (ADRF) and heating rate profiles of mixed East Asian dust plumes in the solar wavelength region ranging from 0.25 to 4.0 μm using the Santa Barbara Discrete Ordinate Atmospheric Radiative Transfer (SBDART) code. Vertical profiles of aerosol extinction coefficients and single-scattering albedos (SSA) were derived from measurements with a multi-wavelength Raman lidar system. The data are used as input parameters for our radiative transfer calculations. We considered four cases of radiative forcing in SBDART: 1. dust, 2. pollution, 3. mixed dust plume and the use of vertical profiles of SSA, and 4. mixed dust plumes and the use of column-averaged values of SSA. In our sensitivity study we examined the influence of SSA and aerosol layer height on our results. The ADRF at the surface and in the atmosphere shows a small dependence on the specific shape of the aerosol extinction vertical profile and its light-absorption property for all four cases. In contrast, at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), the ADRF is largely affected by the vertical distribution of the aerosols extinction. This effect increases if the light-absorption capacity (decrease of SSA) of the aerosols increases. We find different radiative effects in situations in which two layers of aerosols had different light-absorption properties. The largest difference was observed at the TOA for an absorbing aerosol layer at high altitude in which we considered in one case the vertical profile of SSA and in another case the column-averaged SSA only. The ADRF at the TOA increases when the light-absorbing aerosol layer is located above 3 km altitude. The differences between height-resolved SSA, which can be obtained from lidar data, and total layer-mean SSA indicates that the use of a layer-mean SSA can be rather misleading as it can induce a large error in the calculation of the ADRF at the TOA, which in turn may cause errors in the vertical profiles of heating rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-204
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Early online date8 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • aerosol direct radiative forcing
  • heating rate
  • single-scattering albedo
  • dust
  • pollution


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