Table of Contents
ISRN Atmospheric Sciences
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 237483, 17 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of Regional Climatic Model Simulated Aerosol Optical Properties over South Africa Using Ground-Based and Satellite Observations

1Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria, Lynwood Road, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
2National Laser Centre, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, P.O. Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
3Discipline of Physics, School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZulu Natal, Westville, Durban 4000, South Africa
4Department of Physics, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Received 21 August 2013; Accepted 13 September 2013

Academic Editors: G. A. Gerosa and K. Schaefer

Copyright © 2013 M. Tesfaye et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study evaluates the aerosol optical property computing performance of the Regional Climate Model (RegCM4) which is interactively coupled with anthropogenic-desert dust schemes, in South Africa. The validation was carried out by comparing RegCM4 estimated: aerosol extinction coefficient profile, Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), and Single Scattering Albedo (SSA) with AERONET, LIDAR, and MISR observations. The results showed that the magnitudes of simulated AOD at the Skukuza station (24°S, 31°E) are within the standard deviation of AERONET and ±25% of MISR observations. Within the latitudinal range of 26.5°S to 24.5°S, simulated AOD and SSA values are within the standard deviation of MISR retrievals. However, within the latitude range of 33.5°S to 27°S, the model exhibited enhanced AOD and SSA values when compared with MISR observations. This is primarily associated with the dry bias in simulated precipitation that leads to the overestimation of dust emission and underestimation of aerosol wet deposition. With respect to LIDAR, the model performed well in capturing the major aerosol extinction profiles. Overall, the results showed that RegCM4 has a good ability in reproducing the major observational features of aerosol optical fields over the area of interest.