Advancing Assessments on Aerosol Radiative Effect by Measurement-based Direct Effect Estimation and through Developing an Explicit Climatological Convective Boundary Layer Model

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Zhou, Mi
Dickinson, Robert E.
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The first part of the thesis assesses the aerosol direct radiative effect (ADRE) with a focus on ground-based AERONET and satellite MODIS measurements. The AERONET aerosol climatology is used, in conjunction with surface albedo and cloud products from MODIS, to calculate the ADRE and its normalized form (NADRE) for distinct aerosol regimes. The NADRE is defined as the ADRE normalized by optical depth at 550 nm and is mainly determined by internal aerosol optical properties and geographical parameters. These terms are evaluated for cloud-free and cloudy conditions and for all-mode and fine-mode aerosols. We find that the NADRE of fine-mode aerosol is larger at the TOA but smaller at the surface in comparison to that of all-mode aerosol. Cloudy-sky TOA ADRE with clouds is sensitive to the relative location of aerosols and cloud layer. The high-resolution MODIS land surface albedo is also applied to study the clear-sky ADRE over North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula for summer 2001. TOA ADRE shows the high spatial variability with close similarity to that of surface albedo. The second part of the thesis is to develop a 2-D conceptual model for a climatological convective boundary layer over land as a persistent and distinct component in climate models, where the convective-scale motion is explicitly described by fluid dynamics and thermodynamics while the smaller scale effect is parameterized for a neutral stratification. Our conceptual model reasonably reproduces essential statistics of a convective boundary layer in comparison to large eddy simulations. The major difference is that our model produces a better organized and more constrained spatial distribution with coherent convective cells. The simulations for a climatological convective boundary layer are conducted for a prescribed constant and homogenous surface heat flux and a specified cooling term representing the background large scale thermal balance. The results show the 2-D coherent structures of convective cells with characteristic scales comparable with PBL height; downward maximum velocities being 70-80% of the accompanying upward maxima; vertical profiles of a constant potential temperature and linear decreasing heat fluxes; a square-root increase in the velocity magnitude with increasing surface heat flux.
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