Remote sensing of aerosols in the Arctic for an evaluation of global climate model simulations
In this study Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aqua retrievals of aerosol optical thickness (AOT) at 555 nm are compared to Sun photometer measurements from Svalbard for a period of 9 years. For the 642 daily coincident measurements that were obtained, MODIS AOT generally varies within the predicted uncertainty of the retrieval over ocean (ΔAOT=±0.03±0.05·AOT). The results from the remote sensing have been used to examine the accuracy in estimates of aerosol optical properties in the Arctic, generated by global climate models and from in situ measurements at the Zeppelin station, Svalbard. AOT simulated with the Norwegian Earth System Model/Community Atmosphere Model version 4 Oslo global climate model does not reproduce the observed seasonal variability of the Arctic aerosol. The model overestimates clear-sky AOT by nearly a factor of 2 for the background summer season, while tending to underestimate the values in the spring season. Furthermore, large differences in all-sky AOT of up to 1 order of magnitude are found for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 model ensemble for the spring and summer seasons. Large differences between satellite/ground-based remote sensing of AOT and AOT estimated from dry and humidified scattering coefficients are found for the subarctic marine boundary layer in summer.