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Bellouin, N, Jones, A, Haywood, J, Christopher, SA (2008). Updated estimate of aerosol direct radiative forcing from satellite observations and comparison against the Hadley Centre climate model. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 113(D10), D10205.

The fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) includes a comparison of observation-based and modeling-based estimates of the aerosol direct radiative forcing. In this comparison, satellite-based studies suggest a more negative aerosol direct radiative forcing than modeling studies. A previous satellite-based study, part of the IPCC comparison, uses aerosol optical depths and accumulation-mode fractions retrieved by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) at collection 4. The latest version of MODIS products, named collection 5, improves aerosol retrievals. Using these products, the direct forcing in the shortwave spectrum defined with respect to present-day natural aerosols is now estimated at -1.30 and -0.65 Wm(-2) on a global clear-sky and all-sky average, respectively, for 2002. These values are still significantly more negative than the numbers reported by modeling studies. By accounting for differences between present-day natural and preindustrial aerosol concentrations, sampling biases, and investigating the impact of differences in the zonal distribution of anthropogenic aerosols, good agreement is reached between the direct forcing derived from MODIS and the Hadley Centre climate model HadGEM2-A over clear-sky oceans. Results also suggest that satellite estimates of anthropogenic aerosol optical depth over land should be coupled with a robust validation strategy in order to refine the observation-based estimate of aerosol direct radiative forcing. In addition, the complex problem of deriving the aerosol direct radiative forcing when aerosols are located above cloud still needs to be addressed.



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