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Simulation of aerosol distributions and radiative forcing for INDOEX: Regional climate impacts


The direct radiative forcing by aerosols over the Indian Ocean region is simulated for the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX) Intensive Field Phase during Spring 1999. The forcing is calculated for the top-of-atmosphere (TOA), surface, and atmosphere by differencing shortwave fluxes computed with and without aerosols. The calculation includes the effects of sea-salt, sulfate, carbonaceous, and soil-dust aerosols. The aerosol distributions are obtained from a global aerosol simulation including assimilation of satellite retrievals of aerosol optical thickness (AOT). The time-dependent, three-dimensional aerosol distributions are derived with a chemical transport model driven with meteorological analyses for this period. The surface albedos are obtained from a land-surface model forced with an identical meteorological analysis and satellite-derived rainfall and insolation. These calculations are consistent with in situ observations of the surface insolation over the central Indian Ocean and with satellite measurements of the reflected shortwave radiation. The calculations show that the surface insolation under clear skies is reduced by as much as 40 W/m2 over the Indian subcontinent by natural and anthropogenic aerosols. This reduction in insolation is accompanied by an increase in shortwave flux absorbed in the atmosphere by 25 W/m2. The inclusion of clouds in the calculations changes the direct effect by less than 2 W/m2 over the Indian subcontinent, although the reduction is much larger over China. The magnitude of the difference between all-sky and clear-sky forcing is quite sensitive to the three-dimensional spatial relationship between the aerosol and cloud fields, and other estimates of the difference for the INDOEX Intensive Field Phase are as large as 5 W/m2.

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