Using Satellite Aerosol Optical Depth Data to Evaluate Simulations of Biomass Burning Emissions in the NASA Aerosol Model GOCART

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Zachary Thomas Fasnacht, NASA, Greenbelt, MD; and M. Chin and M. Petrenko

The increase of wildfires in the United States provides a necessity for models to accurately predict the location and strength of future fires (Liu, Y., et al 2012). Aerosol models typically rely on emission inventories, which provide location and strength of fires. One way to evaluate the accuracy of emission inventories is to use them as input for an aerosol model and the simulation results are compared with observations. Here, the Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), simulated by the NASA Goddard Chemistry Aerosol and Transport (GOCART) model for a set of fire cases, is compared to snapshots of AOD retrieved from spaceborne instruments: Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR).

This work is based on previous research by Petrenko et al. (2012), which showed regional biases in the GOCART model for a set of fire events during 2006-2007. This project extends the database of studied fire events by adding cases from 2008, which aims to improve the statistical significance of model-observation comparison. MISR AOD was added to the comparison to address known biases in the MODIS AOD, which are usually greatest in regions with bright surfaces or complex topography. North America was chosen due to its diverse topography and variable fire regimes. In addition, MISR wildfires images were digitized using the interactive program MINX, which provides the plume height of fires using Terra satellite imagery. The overview of the AOD comparison for North America and review of contributions to the fire events database and the MISR plume height project are presented.