Quaas, J, Boucher, O (2005). Constraining the first aerosol indirect radiative forcing in the LMDZ GCM using POLDER and MODIS satellite data. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 32(17), L17814.
The indirect effects of anthropogenic aerosols are expected to cause a significant radiative forcing of the Earth's climate whose magnitude, however, is still uncertain. Most climate models use parameterizations for the aerosol indirect effects based on so-called empirical relationships'' which link the cloud droplet number concentration to the aerosol concentration. New satellite datasets such as those from the POLDER and MODIS instruments are well suited to evaluate and improve such parameterizations at a global scale. We derive statistical relationships of cloud-top droplet radius and aerosol index ( or aerosol optical depth) from satellite retrievals and fit an empirical parameterization in a general circulation model to match the relationships. When applying the fitted parameterizations in the model, the simulated radiative forcing by the first aerosol indirect effect is reduced by 50% as compared to our baseline simulation ( down to - 0.3 and - 0.4 Wm(-2) when using MODIS and POLDER satellite data, respectively).