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Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 100, Issue 3–4, pp 423–438 | Cite as

Aerosols and their influence on radiation partitioning and savanna productivity in northern Australia

  • Kasturi Devi Kanniah
  • Jason Beringer
  • Nigel J. Tapper
  • Chuck N. Long
Original Paper

Abstract

Aerosols have been shown to affect the quantity and quality of solar radiation on the Earth’s surface. Savanna regions are subject to frequent burning and release of aerosols that may impact on radiation components and possibly vegetation productivity in this region. Therefore, in this study, we have analyzed the optical properties of aerosols (aerosol optical depth (AOD) and Angstrom coefficient) from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement site in Darwin for the periods from April 2002 to June 2005 as measured by a multifilter rotating shadowband radiometer. The influence of aerosols and their effect on surface shortwave incoming solar radiation and savanna productivity were examined for the dry season using sky radiation collection of radiometers and eddy covariance measurements from the Howard Springs flux site. Results indicated that aerosol concentrations in the region were relatively low compared to other savanna regions with the maximum monthly average AOD over the period being the greatest in October (0.29 ± 0.003 standard error at 500 nm). The highest monthly average Angstrom exponent was also found in October (1.38 ± 0.008). The relatively low aerosol concentration in this region can be attributed to the mixture of smoke aerosols with humidity haze and local circulations. Over a range of AODs from 0.1 to 0.4, we found a modest increase in the fraction of diffuse radiation to total radiation from 11% to 21%. This small increase in diffuse fraction did not affect the carbon flux significantly. However, because the current range of AOD in the region is relatively low, the region could be sensitive to increases in aerosols and diffuse fraction in the future.

Keywords

Photosynthetically Active Radiation Gross Primary Productivity Aerosol Optical Depth Biomass Burning Advance Very High Resolution Radiometer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by Australian Research Council grants (DP0344744 and DP0772981) and a Ph.D. scholarship from the Faculty of Arts, Monash University and University of Technology Malaysia. Dr. Long acknowledges the support of the Climate Change Research Division of the US Department of Energy as part of the ARM Program. Thanks are also extended to the Bureau of Meteorology, Darwin, for the provision of meteorological data and AERONET for making available the aerosol size distribution data.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kasturi Devi Kanniah
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jason Beringer
    • 2
  • Nigel J. Tapper
    • 2
  • Chuck N. Long
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Remote SensingUniversity of Technology MalaysiaSkudaiMalaysia
  2. 2.School of Geography and Environmental ScienceMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  3. 3.Atmospheric Radiation Measurement ProgramPacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA

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