Theme coordinator: Olivier Boucher, Met Office
The objective of this theme is to build an operational data assimilation and forecasting component for aerosols, providing global products on a day-by-day basis. The ECMWF model is extended to include representations of coarse and fine aerosols including dust, sea-salt, black carbon, organic matter and sulphate aerosols from precursor emissions. Weather-dependent sources of dust and salt are combined with satellite-based estimates of fire emissions and climatological distributions of other source fields. The system is being evaluated with a focus on radiative aerosol properties and aerosol-sensitive radiative quantities from satellites and ground based data, as well as on physical-chemical aerosol properties from networks, extensive observational super-sites and field campaigns.
Aerosol optical depths from the MODIS satellite instrument are being used to initialize fields in the first version of the system, and a variety of ground- and satellite-based measurements are used for validation. The illustration shows the modelled intrusion of Saharan dust into Europe on 16 April 2003 and the corresponding visible image from MODIS.