Investigating the assimilation of CALIPSO global aerosol vertical observations using a four-dimensional ensemble Kalman filter

Cheng, Yueming; Dai, Tie; Goto, Daisuke; Schutgens, Nick A. J.; Shi, Guangyu; Nakajima, Teruyuki

Aerosol vertical information is critical to quantify the influences of aerosol on the climate and environment; however, large uncertainties still persist in model simulations. In this study, the vertical aerosol extinction coefficients from the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) onboard the Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) are assimilated to optimize the hourly aerosol fields of the Non-hydrostatic ICosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM) online coupled with the Spectral Radiation Transport Model for Aerosol Species (SPRINTARS) using a four-dimensional local ensemble transform Kalman filter (4-D LETKF). A parallel assimilation experiment using bias-corrected aerosol optical thicknesses (AOTs) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) is conducted to investigate the effects of assimilating the observations (and whether to include vertical information) on the model performances. Additionally, an experiment simultaneously assimilating both CALIOP and MODIS observations is conducted. The assimilation experiments are successfully performed for 1 month, making it possible to evaluate the results in a statistical sense. The hourly analyses are validated via both the CALIOP-observed aerosol vertical extinction coefficients and the AOT observations from MODIS and the AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET). Our results reveal that both the CALIOP and MODIS assimilations can improve the model simulations. The CALIOP assimilation is superior to the MODIS assimilation in modifying the incorrect aerosol vertical distributions and reproducing the real magnitudes and variations, and the joint CALIOP and MODIS assimilation can further improve the simulated aerosol vertical distribution. However, the MODIS assimilation can better reproduce the AOT distributions than the CALIOP assimilation, and the inclusion of the CALIOP observations has an insignificant impact on the AOT analysis. This is probably due to the nadir-viewing CALIOP having much sparser coverage than MODIS. The assimilation efficiencies of CALIOP decrease with increasing distances of the overpass time, indicating that more aerosol vertical observation platforms are required to fill the sensor-specific observation gaps and hence improve the aerosol vertical data assimilation.

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Cheng, Yueming / Dai, Tie / Goto, Daisuke / et al: Investigating the assimilation of CALIPSO global aerosol vertical observations using a four-dimensional ensemble Kalman filter. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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