AEROCLIMA - Direct and indirect effects of aerosols on climate in Amazonia and Pantanal (2008-2013)


  • Paulo Artaxo


  • FAPESP Thematic Project 08/58100-2 (2008 - 2013)

The full project proposal can be download here as a PDF file.


The proposal AEROCLIMA will work on an integrated strategy to enhance the knowledge on the direct and indirect effects of aerosols on climate for the Amazonia and Pantanal regions. The basic concept for AEROCLIMA is of an integrated study, combining field studies with intensive in-situ measurements, remote sensing and regional and global modeling. The idea is to reduce uncertainties on direct and indirect aerosol radiative forcing and to evaluate the impact of aerosols on the ecosystem, including into the hydrological cycle trough an approach with detailed aerosol and radiation measurements in several sites, coupled with a modeling component with 1D and regional climate models approach. Key aerosol properties such as aerosol size distribution, mass, elemental and ionic composition, light scattering and absorption, CCN activity, and others will be measured for one year in each of 3 aerosol sampling stations: North of Manaus (pristine natural biogenic emissions), Alta Floresta (biomass burning aerosols) and Campo Grande at the Pantanal region. Intensive measurements campaigns such as CLAIRE 2010 will use aerosol mass spectrometers and advanced instrumentation to better characterize aerosol properties. We will also have aerosol vertical profiles with continuous Raman Lidar measurements as well as 7 AERONET sun photometers and radiometers in continuous operation for model validation. Airborne measurements using an instrumented aircraft (INPE Bandeirante) will explore the large scale aerosol properties and distribution over Amazonia and Pantanal. The large scale aerosol and cloud properties and distribution will be observed with the use of MODIS, CALIPSO, CloudSat, AIRS, TRMM and other sensors. Novel remote sensing instruments will be developed to measure cloud water phase, as well as cloud droplet size distribution.

The modeling component will use and develop CATT-BRAMS and WRF-Chem to study the regional aerosol distribution, properties, impacts and radiative forcing. LES and cloud resolving models will be used to study aerosol-cloud interactions. The development effort on these regional models will be implemented at the existing CPTEC GCM, and further implemented in the future Brazilian Model of the Global Climate System (BMGCS). We will help to build the radiation code at the BMGCS based on data and parameterizations obtained in this proposal. The different models will also be used to perform sensitivity studies to investigate the most relevant parameters on the direct and indirect aerosol effects on climate.

The joint use of a integrated approach with extensive measurements, remote sensing and modeling will allow a new and more complete vision of the impact of aerosols on climate, particularly over South America. The results should be applicable over other tropical areas (Africa and Southeast Asia), with partnership to be developed with other similar studies in these regions. This proposal will address a key issue to the FAPESP Global Climate Change Program.


The overall objective of AEROCLIMA is to investigate the connection between the concentration and physico-chemical properties of biogenic and biomass burning aerosol in the radiation balance and climate, including effects on cloud development and microphysics for two important regions in South America: Amazonia and Pantanal. The basic concept for AEROCLIMA is that of an integrated study, combining field studies, remote sensing and modeling. To achieve this goal, we will perform the following tasks:

  1. Calculate long term direct and indirect radiative forcing of aerosols in Amazonia and Pantanal, using a combination of measurements and modeling tools.
  2. Characterize in detail physico-chemical properties of aerosol particles that are relevant for their impact on the environment and climatic effects.
  3. Install and operate three aerosol field measurement stations that for one year will study detailed properties of aerosols: size distribution, absorption, scattering, composition, CCN activity and others. Aerosol and water vapor vertical profiles will be measured with a Raman Lidar. These stations will be installed at: North of Manaus, Alta Floresta (biomass burning region) and Campo Grande (Pantanal).
  4. Implement intensive measurement programs such as the proposed LBA/CLAIRE2010, were more detailed aerosol properties will be measured including aerosol mass spectrometry, ion cluster measurements and detailed organic aerosol composition, VOC concentrations, among others.
  5. Perform large scale aircraft measurements using the INPE Bandeirante aircraft to measure the large scale and vertical distribution of aerosols. Develop innovative instrumentation to measure water phase and cloud droplets in convective and stratus clouds.
  6. Use remote sensing measurements with MODIS, CALIPSO and CERES to study large scale and long term aerosol and radiation fields in Amazonia and Pantanal. This will be used to quantify the effect of smoke aerosol on cloud properties.
  7. Develop and evaluate semi-empirical parameterizations for the cloud-aerosol-radiation interaction suitable for the Amazon basin and Pantanal region for different aerosol burden regimes.
  8. Model the effect of biogenic and biomass burning aerosol on cloud microphysics at the individual cloud and at regional level with spectral bin microphysics coupled to BRAMS. Perform sensitivity studies to investigate the relative importance of each variable.
  9. Implement regional models with full aerosol microphysics, developed based on measurements in this project. The regional models will be based on CATT-BRAMS and WRF-CHEM models.
  10. To contribute to the BMGCS development, taking advantage of all expertise gained in the context of this proposal on the parameterizations for aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions and gaseous and aerosol chemistry.