Aerosol properties above clouds have been retrieved over the South East Atlantic Ocean during the fire season 2006 using satellite observations from POLDER (Polarization and Directionality of Earth Reflectances). From June to October, POLDER has observed a mean Above-Cloud Aerosol Optical Thickness (ACAOT) of 0.28 and a mean Above-Clouds Single Scattering Albedo (ACSSA) of 0.87 at 550 nm. These results have been used to evaluate the simulation of aerosols above clouds in five Aerosol Comparisons between Observations and Models (Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport (GOCART), Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model 3 (HadGEM3), European Centre Hamburg Model 5-Hamburg Aerosol Module 2 (ECHAM5-HAM2), Oslo-Chemical Transport Model 2 (OsloCTM2), and Spectral Radiation-Transport Model for Aerosol Species (SPRINTARS)). Most models do not reproduce the observed large aerosol load episodes. The comparison highlights the importance of the injection height and the vertical transport parameterizations to simulate the large ACAOT observed by POLDER. Furthermore, POLDER ACSSA is best reproduced by models with a high imaginary part of black carbon refractive index, in accordance with recent recommendations.
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