Biomass Burning Aerosol Impact on Orographic Cloud Formation on Kilimanjaro

Friday, 19 December 2014
Udaysankar S Nair, Yuling Wu and Sundar Anand Christopher, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL, United States
In addition to large scale climate change impacts, regional climate forcing due to land cover and land use change and biomass burning aerosols may also be relevant in understanding observed changes at Kilimanjaro. Analysis of satellite detected fires conducted for 2007 show substantial biomass burning in the vicinity of Kilimanjaro and maximum mid visible MODIS retrieved aerosol optical depth over Kilimanjaro during the month of July. For selected case days in 2007, numerical simulations were conducted using WRF Chem to assess the impact of biomass burning aerosols on orographic cloud formation on Kilimanjaro. Numerical modeling experiments with and without smoke emissions were conducted. Satellite derived smoke emissions are utilized in numerical model experiments considering biomass burning aerosol effects. Nested grid configuration was used in the experiments to establish a fine grid of 100 km x 100 km domain and 1 km grid spacing over the complex terrain of Kilimanjaro. For case days considered, numerical model simulations show substantial impact of biomass burning aerosols on orographic cloud formation. There is a net increase in cloud liquid water path with maximum increase in excess of 10%. Orographic precipitation also show increase in rainfall of up to 10% at higher elevations. Whereas there is average reduction in downwelling solar radiation 18 Wm-2 up to elevations of 5000m, impacts at the mountain peaks are minimal. Processes leading to the differences in cloud formation and results from numerical simulations are conducted for additional case study days during other seasons and will be discussed