Empirically derived parameterizations of the direct aerosol radiative effect based on ORACLES aircraft observations

Sabrina P. Cochrane, K. Sebastian Schmidt, Hong Chen, Peter Pilewskie, Scott Kittelman, Jens Redemann, Samuel Leblanc, Kristina Pistone, Meloe Kacenelenbogen, Michal Segal Rozenhaimer, Yohei Shinozuka, Connor Flynn, Amie Dobracki, Paquita Zuidema, Steven Howell, Steffen Freitag, Sarah Doherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we use observations from the NASA ORACLES (ObseRvations of CLouds above Aerosols and their intEractionS) aircraft campaign to develop a framework by way of two parameterizations that establishes regionally representative relationships between aerosol-cloud properties and their radiative effects. These relationships rely on new spectral aerosol property retrievals of the single scattering albedo (SSA) and asymmetry parameter (ASY). The retrievals capture the natural variability of the study region as sampled, and both were found to be fairly narrowly constrained (SSA: 0.83 <span classCombining double low line"inline-formula± 0.03 in the mid-visible, 532 nm; ASY: 0.54 <span classCombining double low line"inline-formula± 0.06 at 532 nm). The spectral retrievals are well suited for calculating the direct aerosol radiative effect (DARE) since SSA and ASY are tied directly to the irradiance measured in the presence of aerosols - one of the inputs to the spectral DARE. The framework allows for entire campaigns to be generalized into a set of parameterizations. For a range of solar zenith angles, it links the broadband DARE to the mid-visible aerosol optical depth (AOD) and the albedo (α/i) of the underlying scene (either clouds or clear sky) by way of the first parameterization: P/i(AOD, α/i). For ORACLES, the majority of the case-to-case variability of the broadband DARE is attributable to the dependence on the two driving parameters of P/i(AOD, α/i). A second, extended, parameterization iPX/i(AOD, α/i, SSA) explains even more of the case-to-case variability by introducing the mid-visible SSA as a third parameter. These parameterizations establish a direct link from two or three mid-visible (narrowband) parameters to the broadband DARE, implicitly accounting for the underlying spectral dependencies of its drivers. They circumvent some of the assumptions when calculating DARE from satellite products or in a modeling context. For example, the DARE dependence on aerosol microphysical properties is not explicit in P/i or iPX/i because the asymmetry parameter varies too little from case to case to translate into appreciable DARE variability. While these particular DARE parameterizations only represent the<span idCombining double low line"page568"/> ORACLES data, they raise the prospect of generalizing the framework to other regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-593
Number of pages27
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number1
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2021


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