TJ12.6 How We Can Constrain Aerosol Type Globally

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 2:45 PM
Room 357 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Ralph Kahn, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD

Handout (14.6 MB)

In addition to aerosol number concentration, aerosol size and composition are essential attributes needed to adequately represent aerosol-cloud interactions (ACI) in models. As the nature of ACI varies enormously with environmental conditions, global-scale constraints on particle properties are indicated. And although advanced satellite remote-sensing instruments can provide categorical aerosol-type classification globally, detailed particle microphysical properties are unobtainable from space with currently available or planned technologies. For the foreseeable future, only in situ measurements can constrain particle properties at the level-of-detail required for ACI, as well as to reduce uncertainties in regional-to-global-scale direct aerosol radiative forcing (DARF).

The limitation of in situ measurements for this application is sampling. However, there is a simplifying factor: for a given aerosol source, in a given season, particle microphysical properties tend to be repeatable, even if the amount varies from day-to-day and year-to-year, because the physical nature of the particles is determined primarily by the regional environment. So, if the PDFs of particle properties from major aerosol sources can be adequately characterized, they can be used to add the missing microphysical detail the better sampled satellite aerosol-type maps. This calls for Systematic Aircraft Measurements to Characterize Aerosol Air Masses (SAM-CAAM).

We are defining a relatively modest and readily deployable, operational aircraft payload capable of measuring key aerosol absorption, scattering, and chemical properties in situ, and a program for characterizing statistically these properties for the major aerosol air mass types, at a level-of-detail unobtainable from space. It is aimed at: (1) enhancing satellite aerosol-type retrieval products with better aerosol climatology assumptions, and (2) improving the translation between satellite-retrieved aerosol optical properties and species-specific aerosol mass and size that are tracked in aerosol transport and climate models used to assess aerosol forcing and its anthropogenic components. This presentation will summarize where we stand on the development of the SAM-CAAM concept.

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