Scattering in the longwave domain has been neglected in the first generation of radiative codes and is still neglected in most current GCMs. Scattering in the longwave domain does not play any significant role for clear-sky conditions but recent works have shown that it is not negligible for cloudy conditions. This paper highlights the importance of scattering by mineral aerosols in the longwave domain for a wide range of conditions commonly encountered during dust events. The authors show that neglecting scattering may lead to an underestimate of longwave aerosol forcing. This underestimate may reach 50% of the longwave forcing at the top of atmosphere and 15% at the surface for aerosol effective radius greater than a few tenths of a micron. For an aerosol optical thickness of one and for typical atmospheric conditions, the longwave forcing at the top of the atmosphere increases to 8 W m −2 when scattering effects are included. In contrast, the heating rate inside the atmosphere is only slightly affected by aerosol scattering: neglecting it leads to an underestimate by no more than 10% of the cooling caused by aerosols.
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 4, 2001