Measurement and modeling of the Saharan dust radiative impact: Overview of the Saharan Dust Experiment (SHADE)

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Abstract

[1] Aerosols are known to be important in determining Earth's radiative balance. Dust aerosols are of particular interest since, in addition to their scattering and absorbing properties that affect the solar radiation, they also perturb the terrestrial radiation. Recent studies have shown that a significant proportion of mineral dust in the atmosphere may be of anthropogenic origin, and therefore they may have an important role in climate change by exerting a significant radiative forcing. However, the optical and radiative properties of dust are not yet very well-determined, and even the sign of the resulting forcing is still questionable. The Saharan Dust Experiment (SHADE) was designed to better determine the parameters that are relevant for computing the direct radiative effect. Two aircraft combining in situ and remote sensing instruments were coordinated with satellite overpasses and ground-based observations during the experiment, which was based in the Cape Verde area during the period 19–29 September 2000. These in situ and remotely sensed data provide new valuable information on the microphysical, optical properties, and radiative effects of a large mineral dust outbreak. In addition, a global chemical transport model was used for assessing the radiative impact of these events, which are shown to be important on regional and global scales.

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