Simulation of the spatial distribution of mineral dust and its direct radiative forcing over Australia
Direct radiative forcing by mineral dust is important as it significantly affects the climate system by scattering and absorbing short-wave and long-wave radiation. The multi-angle imaging spectro radiometer (MISR) and cloud-aerosol lidar with orthogonal polarisation (CALIOP) aerosol data are used to observe mineral dust distribution over Australia. In addition, the weather research and forecasting with chemistry (WRF/Chem) model is used to estimate direct radiative forcing by dust. At the surface, the model domain clear-sky shortwave and long-wave direct radiative forcing by dust averaged for a 6-month period (austral spring and summer) was estimated to be -0.67 W m-2 and 0.13 W m-2, respectively. The long-wave warming effect of dust therefore offsets 19.4% of its short-wave cooling effect. However, over Lake Eyre Basin where coarse particles are more abundant, the long-wave warming effect of dust offsets 60.9% of the short-wave cooling effect. At the top of the atmosphere (TOA), clear-sky short-wave and long-wave direct radiative forcing was estimated to be -0.26 W m-2 and -0.01 W m-2, respectively. This leads to a net negative direct radiative forcing of dust at the TOA, indicating cooling of the atmosphere by an increase in outgoing radiation. Shortwave and long-wave direct radiative forcing by dust is shown to have a diurnal variation due to changes in solar zenith angle and in the intensity of infrared radiation. Atmospheric heating due to absorption of shortwave radiation was simulated, while the interaction of dust with long-wave radiation was associated with atmospheric cooling. The net effect was cooling of the atmosphere near the surface (below 0.2 km), with warming of the atmosphere at higher altitudes. © 2013 O. Alizadeh Choobari et al.