Particulate absorption of solar radiation: anthropogenic aerosols vs. dust
Author(s)Wang, Chien; Jeong, Gill-Ran; Mahowald, N. M.
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Particulate solar absorption is a critical factor in determining the value and even sign of the direct radiative forcing of aerosols. The heating to the atmosphere and cooling to the Earth’s surface caused by this absorption are hypothesized to have significant climate impacts. We find that anthropogenic aerosols play an important role around the globe in total particulate absorption of solar radiation. The global-average anthropogenic fraction in total aerosol absorbing optical depth exceeds 65% in all seasons. Combining the potentially highest dust absorption with the lowest anthropogenic absorption within our model range, this fraction would still exceed 47% in most seasons except for boreal spring (36%) when dust abundance reaches its peak. Nevertheless, dust aerosol is still a critical absorbing constituent over places including North Africa, the entire tropical Atlantic, and during boreal spring in most part of Eurasian continent. The equality in absorbing solar radiation of dust and anthropogenic aerosols appears to be particularly important over Indian subcontinent and nearby regions as well as North Africa.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Global Change Science; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Joint Program on the Science & Policy of Global Change
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geophysical Society
Wang, C., G. R. Jeong, and N. Mahowald. "Particulate absorption of solar radiation: anthropogenic aerosols vs. dust." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 9, 3935–3945, 2009.
Final published version