Nair, VS; Solmon, F; Giorgi, F; Mariotti, L; Babu, SS; Moorthy, KK (2012). Simulation of South Asian aerosols for regional climate studies. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 117, D04209.
Extensive intercomparison of columnar and near-surface aerosols, simulated over the South Asian domain using the aerosol module included in the regional climate model (RegCM4) of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) have been carried out using ground-based network of Sun/sky Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) radiometers, satellite sensors such as Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR), and ground-based black carbon (BC) measurements made at Aerosol Radiative Forcing over India (ARFI) network stations. In general, RegCM4 simulations reproduced the spatial and seasonal characteristics of aerosol optical depth over South Asia reasonably well, particularly over west Asia, where mineral dust is a major contributor to the total aerosol loading. In contrast, RegCM4 simulations drastically underestimated the BC mass concentrations over most of the stations, by a factor of 2 to 5, with a large spatial variability. Seasonally, the discrepancy between the measured and simulated BC tended to be higher during winter and periods when the atmospheric boundary layer is convectively stable (such as nighttime and early mornings), while during summer season and during periods when the boundary layer is convectively unstable (daytime) the discrepancies were much lower, with the noontime values agreeing very closely with the observations. A detailed analysis revealed that the model does not reproduce the nocturnal high in BC, observed at most of the Indian sites especially during winter, because of the excessive vertical transport of aerosols under stable boundary layer conditions. As far as the vertical distribution was concerned, the simulated vertical profiles of BC agreed well with airborne measurements during daytime. This comprehensive validation exercise reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the model in simulating the spatial and temporal heterogeneities of the aerosol fields over South Asia.