Impacts of Aerosol Measurement Errors on Climate Change Studies


Scientists in DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program used radiative transfer models to show that measurement errors in aerosol properties, typical of current best practices, result in large uncertainties (20 to 80 percent) in modeling aerosol impacts on climate. The largest contributor to total uncertainty is in measuring the scattering versus absorbing properties of aerosols. The results provide specific information for each of the primary aerosol properties used as inputs to climate models. The information serves as a guide to reduce measurement errors for each aerosol property. This methodology will lead to an acceptable level of uncertainty in aerosol modeling and an identification of areas where measurements might be most improved.


McComiskey, A., S. E. Schwartz, B. Schmid, H. Guan, E. R. Lewis, P. Ricchiazzi, and J. A. Ogren (2008), Direct aerosol forcing: Calculation from observables and sensitivities to inputs, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D09202, doi:10.1029/2007JD009170.