Sensitivity of the atmospheric temperature profile to the aerosol absorption in the presence of dust

J.L. Go´mez-Amo, A. di Sarra, D. Meloni

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Radiative transfer simulations in the shortwave (SW) and longwave (LW) spectral regions have been carried out to investigate the time evolution of the atmospheric heating/cooling rates and their influence on the temperature profiles under different vertical distributions of the aerosol absorption. The case study is based on measurements made at Rome, Italy, on 20 June 2007, when a dust layer was present above the urban boundary layer (BL) and the column aerosol optical depth at 550 nm was about 0.37. Column-integrated aerosol optical depth and single scattering albedo, as well as vertical profiles of aerosol extinction and meteorological variables have been derived from observations and used in the simulations. Different profiles of the aerosol absorption are considered by varying the absorption of the BL aerosols and of the desert dust, without changing the overall columnar properties. Three scenarios have been considered, with absorbing (ABL) or scattering (SBL) particles in the BL, and with a vertically homogeneous case (HL), which is taken as the reference. Calculations show that, for the selected case, about 25% of the SW heating is offset by the LW cooling within the dust layer. Different longwave/all-wave contributions are observed in the BL, depending on the BL aerosol absorption. Changes of atmospheric temperature induced by aerosol-radiation interactions only, have been investigated, while interactions with the surface through changes of the latent and sensible heat flux have been neglected. The evolution of temperature is similar for the three scenarios within the dust layer, with a daytime increase and a smaller nighttime decrease. After 24 h, the increase of the atmospheric temperature due to the aerosol radiative processes is about 1 K. In the BL, the increase of temperature is strongly dependent on the aerosol absorption capability. The oscillatory behaviour of the temperature with time in the dust layer, and the different evolution in the BL are expected to affect the temperature vertical gradient and may influence related processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331 - 336
Number of pages6
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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