The solar radiative absorption by smoke layers above clouds is quantified, using the unique broad spectral range of the space-borne spectrometer Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) from the ultraviolet (UV) to the shortwave infrared (SWIR). Aerosol radiative effects in the UV are separated from cloud radiative effects in the shortwave infrared (SWIR). In the UV, aerosol absorption from smoke is strong, creating a strong signal in the measured reflectance. In the SWIR, absorbing and scattering effects from smoke are negligible, allowing the retrieval of cloud parameters from the measured spectrum using existing retrieval techniques. The spectral signature of the cloud can be modelled using a radiative transfer model (RTM) and the cloud parameters retrieved in the SWIR. In this way, the aerosol effects can be determined from the measured aerosol-polluted cloud shortwave spectrum and the modelled aerosol-unpolluted cloud shortwave spectrum. This can be used to derive the
aerosol direct radiative effect (DRE) over marine clouds, independent of aerosol parameter retrievals, significantly improving the current accuracy of aerosol DRE estimates. Only cloud parameters are needed to model the aerosol-
unpolluted cloud reflectance, while the effects of the aerosol absorption are in the aerosol-polluted cloud reflectance measurements.
In this paper we present a case study of the above method using SCIAMACHY data over the South Atlantic Ocean west of Africa on 13 August 2006, when a huge plume of smoke was present over persistent cloud fields. The aerosol DRE over clouds was as high as 128 ± 8 Wm-2 for this case, while the aerosol DRE over clouds averaged through August 2006 was found to be 23 ± 8 Wm-2 with a mean variation over the region in this month of 22 Wm-2.
M de Graaf, P Stammes, LG Tilstra. Quantification of the Aerosol Direct Radiative Effect from Smoke over Clouds using Passive Space-borne Spectrometry
2012, 2012, International Radiation Symposium