Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 64 pages) : illustrations (some color), color map.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Richard Perez


Aerosol Optical Depth, AOD, GEMS, Radiative Transfer Model, Radiative transfer, Air quality, Aerosols

Subject Categories

Atmospheric Sciences | Environmental Sciences


The current version of the State University of New York (SUNY) radiative transfer model (RTM) uses climatological monthly averages derived from a National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) gridded dataset to parameterize aerosol optical depth (AOD), water vapor and ozone. This is mostly due to the limited availability of high spatially and temporally resolved observations. Several global chemical transport models are analyzed and compared in depth to determine which daily AOD dataset should be implemented into the SUNY Model. After thorough comparison, the chemical transport model chosen was the Global and regional Earth-system Monitoring using satellite and in-situ data (GEMS) model developed by the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). Using daily AOD values instead of monthly climatological values, the SUNY Model better captures events of extreme aerosol loadings, which greatly improves the accuracy in calculations of direct normal irradiance (DNI) and to a lesser extent, global horizontal irradiance (GHI). In clear-sky conditions with the sun directly overhead, a change in AOD from 0.1 to 0.5 is found to cause a 55% (20%) decrease in DNI (GHI) for Desert Rock, Nevada in January.