The role of aerosol absorption on the radiative transfer balance of the earth-atmosphere system is one of the largest sources of uncertainty in the analysis of global climate change. Global measurements of aerosol single scattering albedo are, therefore, necessary to properly assess the radiative forcing effect of aerosols. Remote sensing of aerosol absorption is currently carried out using both ground (Aerosol Robotic Network) and space (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer) based observations. The satellite technique uses measurements of backscattered near ultraviolet radiation. Carbonaceous aerosols, resulting from the combustion of biomass, are one of the most predominant absorbing aerosol types in the atmosphere. In this presentation, TOMS and AERONET retrievals of single scattering albedo of carbonaceous aerosols, are compared for different environmental conditions: agriculture related biomass burning in South America and Africa and peat fires in Eastern Europe. The AERONET and TOMS derived aerosol absorption information are in good quantitative agreement. The most absorbing smoke is detected over the African Savanna. Aerosol absorption over the Brazilian rain forest is less absorbing. Absorption by aerosol particles resulting from peat fires in Eastern Europe is weaker than the absorption measured in Africa and South America. This analysis shows that the near UV satellite method of aerosol absorption characterization has the sensitivity to distinguish different levels of aerosol absorption. The analysis of the combined AERONET-TOMS observations shows a high degree of synergy between satellite and ground based observations.
Meteorology and Climatology
EGS-AGU-EUG Joint Assembly 2003; Apr 07, 2003 - Apr 11, 2003; Nice; France