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Single-scattering properties of ellipsoidal dust aerosols accounting for realistic shape distributions
  • Yue Huang,
  • Jasper Kok,
  • Olga Munoz Gomez
Yue Huang
University of California Los Angeles

Corresponding Author:hyue4@ucla.edu

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Jasper Kok
University of California
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Olga Munoz Gomez
Instituto de AstrofĂ­sica de AndalucĂ­a (IAA-CSIC)
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To correctly simulate and retrieve dust distributions and estimate dust impacts, global aerosol models and remote sensing retrieval algorithms need accurate single-scattering properties of dust aerosols. However, inconsistent and inaccurate quantifications of dust shape and shape distributions are used in models and retrieval algorithms, generating biases that propagate into the estimated dust distributions and dust impacts. To improve models and retrieval algorithms, here we for the first time account for the realistic dust shape distributions in obtaining single-scattering properties of dust aerosols. We find that approximating dust as spheres and neglecting dust asphericity, as most global aerosol models do, result in substantial underestimations in the extinction efficiency, the asymmetry factor, and the single-scattering albedo for all dust sizes in both the shortwave and longwave spectra. In addition, we find that the inaccurate quantification of dust shape in retrieval algorithms causes them to generate an incorrect magnitude and wavelength dependence of the linear depolarization ratio relative to observations. Our new ellipsoidal dust optics accounting for realistic shape distributions produce excellent agreement with the measured linear depolarization ratio. Although these new dust optics show potential to improve models and retrieval algorithms, they underestimate the magnitude of the back-scattering intensity relative to laboratory and field observations. This finding indicates that a realistic quantification of dust body shape is not sufficient and that an accurate quantification of dust surface texture is also critical to accurately reproduce dust optical properties at back-scattering angles.