Large atmospheric shortwave radiative forcing by Mediterranean aerosols derived from simultaneous ground-based and spaceborne observations and dependence on the aerosol type and single scattering albedo

Claudia Di Biagio, Alcide Di Sarra, Daniela Meloni

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Aerosol optical properties and shortwave irradiance measurements at the island of Lampedusa (central Mediterranean) during 2004-2007 are combined with Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System observations of the outgoing shortwave flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA). The measurements are used to estimate the surface (FES), the top of the atmosphere (FE TOA), and the atmospheric (FEATM) shortwave aerosol forcing efficiencies for solar zenith angle (θ) between 15° and 55° for desert dust (DD), urban/ industrial-biomass burning aerosols (UI-BB), and mixed aerosols (MA). The forcing efficiency at the different atmospheric levels is derived by applying the direct method, that is, as the derivative of the shortwave net flux versus the aerosol optical depth at fixed θ. The diurnal average forcing efficiency at the surface/TOA at the equinox is (-68.9 ± 4.0)/ (-45.5 ± 5.4) W m-2 for DD, (-59.0 ± 4.3)/(-19.2 ± 3.3) W m-2 for UI-BB, and (-94.9 ± 5.1)/(-36.2 ± 1.7) W m-2 for MA. The diurnal average atmospheric radiative forcing at the equinox is (+7.3 ± 2.5) W m -2 for DD, (+8.4 ± 1.9) W m-2 for UI-BB, and (+8.2 ± 1.9) W m-2 for MA, suggesting that the mean atmospheric forcing is almost independent of the aerosol type. The largest values of the atmospheric forcing may reach +35 W m-2 for DD, +23 W m-2 for UI-BB, and +34 W m-2 for MA. FETOA is calculated for MA and 25° ≤ θ ≤ 35° for three classes of single scattering albedo (0.7 ≤ ω TOA increases, in absolute value, for increasing ω. A 0.1 increment in ω determines an increase in FETOA by 10-20 W m-2. Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberD10209
Pages (from-to)-
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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