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J Geophys Res Atmos. 2016 Jun 27;121(12):7079-7087. Epub 2016 Jun 18.

Surface dimming by the 2013 Rim Fire simulated by a sectional aerosol model.

Author information

1
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space PhysicsUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderColoradoUSA; Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderColoradoUSA; Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental ScienceUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderColoradoUSA; Earth System Research LaboratoryNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationBoulderColoradoUSA.
2
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space PhysicsUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderColoradoUSA; Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderColoradoUSA.
3
Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Laboratory National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder Colorado USA.
4
Naval Research Laboratory Monterey California USA.
5
Earth System Research Laboratory National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Boulder Colorado USA.
6
Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling LaboratoryNational Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderColoradoUSA; Center for Global and Regional Environmental ResearchThe University of IowaIowa CityIowaUSA.
7
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt Maryland USA.
8
NASA Langley Research Center Hampton Virginia USA.
9
Science Systems and Applications, Inc. Hampton Virginia USA.
10
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental ScienceUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderColoradoUSA; Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderColoradoUSA.
11
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental ScienceUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderColoradoUSA; Earth System Research LaboratoryNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationBoulderColoradoUSA.

Abstract

The Rim Fire of 2013, the third largest area burned by fire recorded in California history, is simulated by a climate model coupled with a size-resolved aerosol model. Modeled aerosol mass, number, and particle size distribution are within variability of data obtained from multiple-airborne in situ measurements. Simulations suggest that Rim Fire smoke may block 4-6% of sunlight energy reaching the surface, with a dimming efficiency around 120-150 W m-2 per unit aerosol optical depth in the midvisible at 13:00-15:00 local time. Underestimation of simulated smoke single scattering albedo at midvisible by 0.04 suggests that the model overestimates either the particle size or the absorption due to black carbon. This study shows that exceptional events like the 2013 Rim Fire can be simulated by a climate model with 1° resolution with overall good skill, although that resolution is still not sufficient to resolve the smoke peak near the source region.

KEYWORDS:

Rim Fire; radiative forcing; sectional aerosol model

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