Liu, L, Lacis, AA, Carlson, BE, Mishchenko, MI, Cairns, B (2006). Assessing Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE aerosol climatology using satellite and ground-based measurements: A comparison study. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 111(D20), D20212.
A physically based aerosol climatology is important to address questions of global climate change. We evaluate the aerosol climatology used in the GISS ModelE (Schmidt et al., 2006), by characterizing and comparing the geographic distribution and seasonal variability of aerosol optical depth (AOD) and particle size via Angstrom exponent (A) against available satellite and ground-based measurements, i.e., MODIS, MISR, POLDER, AVHRR, and AERONET data. There are a number of model parameters, particularly those related to aerosol size specification, that can be better constrained by comparison to satellite data. Our comparison shows that there are large differences in the satellite and ground-based global distributions of AOD. The differences between the observations increase for the Angstrom exponent. Given the uncertainties associated with satellite retrieval results, the agreement in the distributions of global optical depth between GCM aerosols and satellite data is qualitatively reasonable. However, the Angstrom exponent of the GCM aerosol is clearly biased low compared to satellite data, implying that the GCM aerosol sizes are overestimated. There is qualitative agreement of the ModelE aerosol single scattering albedo pi with TOMS Aerosol Index (AI) and AERONET data. The comparisons show insufficient aerosol absorption at most locations, suggesting a possible underestimation of black carbon distributions in the GCM. However, a more quantitative comparison first requires a readjustment of the GCM aerosol size specification.