Lesins, G, Lohmann, U (2006). Using MODIS and AERONET to determine GCM aerosol size. JOURNAL OF THE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 63(4), 1338-1347.
Aerosol size is still a poorly constrained quantity in general circulation models (GCMs). By using the modal radii of the coarse and fine mode retrieved from 103 stations in the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) and the fine mode aerosol optical depth fraction derived from both the Moderate Resolute Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Terra and AERONET, a globally and monthly averaged aerosol size distribution dataset was computed assuming internally mixed aerosols. Different methods were employed in creating the size distribution datasets; that were input to the ECHAM4 climate model giving a globally averaged aerosol optical depth (AOD) at 500 nm that ranged from 0.11. to 0.20 depending on the method. This translates into a globally averaged direct aerosol top-of-atmosphere forcing range from -1.6 to -3.9 W m(-2). Reducing the uncertainty in the aerosol sizes is important when using AOD to validate models since mass burden errors can then be assumed to be the main AOD error source. This paper explores a procedure that can help achieve this goal.