Effect of measured surface albedo on modeled Saharan dust solar radiative forcing



[1] The clear-sky solar radiative forcing of Saharan dust is computed for a case study during the SAharan Mineral dUst experiMent (SAMUM) in May 2006. Size-resolved dust concentrations simulated with a regional model and spectrally resolved surface albedo measurements were used as input for a 1-D radiative transfer model to study the dependence of the dust radiative forcing at solar wavelengths on surface albedo and particle optical properties. Within the considered parameter range, the surface albedo can have a larger impact on the solar radiative forcing of dust at the top of atmosphere (TOA) than the variations of optical properties. At the location of Ouarzazate in Morocco, different measured surface albedo values lead to differences in instantaneous solar TOA solar forcing of up to 15 W m−2 for identical dust properties. This highlights the importance of using an accurate characterization of surface albedo values for estimating solar dust forcing over land. In the regional average over the Sahara using either the standard model values or satellite-based surface albedos leads to differences in the order of 9 W m−2 in the instantaneous solar forcing at TOA, and 5 W m−2 for the diurnal mean TOA forcing.