Temperature-dependence of aerosol optical depth over the southeastern US

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Mielonen, Tero ; Hienola, Anca ; Kühn, Thomas ; Merikanto, Joonas ; Lipponen, Antti ; Bergman, Tommi ; Korhonen, Hannele ; Kolmonen, Pekka ; Sogacheva, Larisa ; Ghent, Darren ; Arola, Antti ; Leeuw, Gerrit ; Kokkola, Harri (2016)

Previous studies have indicated that summer-time aerosol optical depths (AOD) over the southeastern US are dependent on temperature but the reason for this dependence and its radiative effects have so far been unclear. To quantify these effects we utilized AOD and land surface temperature (LST) products from the Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) with observations of tropospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO<sub>2</sub>) column densities from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). Furthermore, simulations of the global aerosol-climate model ECHAM-HAMMOZ have been used to identify the possible processes affecting aerosol loads and their dependence on temperature over the studied region. Our results showed that the level of AOD in the southeastern US is mainly governed by anthropogenic emissions but the observed temperature dependent behaviour is most likely originating from non-anthropogenic emissions. Model simulations indicated that biogenic emissions of volatile organic compounds (BVOC) can explain the observed temperature dependence of AOD. According to the remote sensing data sets, the non-anthropogenic contribution increases AOD by approximately 0.009&thinsp;±&thinsp;0.018&thinsp;K<sup>&minus;1</sup> while the modelled BVOC emissions increase AOD by 0.022&thinsp;±&thinsp;0.002&thinsp;K<sup>&minus;1</sup>. Consequently, the regional direct radiative effect (DRE) of the non-anthropogenic AOD is &minus;0.43&thinsp;±&thinsp;0.88&thinsp;W/m<sup>2</sup>/K and &minus;0.17&thinsp;±&thinsp;0.35&thinsp;W/m<sup>2</sup>/K for clear- and all-sky conditions, respectively. The model estimate of the regional clear-sky DRE for biogenic aerosols is also in the same range: &minus;0.86&thinsp;±&thinsp;0.06&thinsp;W/m<sup>2</sup>/K. These DRE values indicate significantly larger cooling than the values reported for other forested regions. Furthermore, the model simulations showed that biogenic emissions increased the number of biogenic aerosols with radius larger than 100&thinsp;nm (N100, proxy for cloud condensation nuclei) by 28&thinsp;% per one degree temperature increase. For the total N100, the corresponding increase was 4&thinsp;% which implies that biogenic emissions could also have a small effect on indirect radiative forcing in this region.
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