Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 21785-21817, 2009
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/9/21785/2009/
doi:10.5194/acpd-9-21785-2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review Status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Absorption Angstrom Exponent in AERONET and related data as an indicator of aerosol composition
P. B. Russell1, R. W. Bergstrom2, Y. Shinozuka3, A. D. Clarke4, P. F. DeCarlo5,6,*, J. L. Jimenez5,7, J. M. Livingston8, J. Redemann2, B. Holben9, O. Dubovik10, and A. Strawa1
1NASA Ames Research Center, MS 245-5, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000, USA
2Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, 560 3rd Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476, USA
3Oak Ridge Associated Universities, NASA Ames Research Center, MS 245-5, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000, USA
4School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA
5Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
6Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
7Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
8SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
9NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for Atmospheres, Code 912, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
10Laboratoire d'Optique Atmospherique, CNRS Universite de Lille, Bat 5, 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq CEDEX, France
*now at: Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Switzerland

Abstract. Recent results from diverse air, ground, and laboratory studies using both radiometric and in situ techniques show that the fractions of black carbon, organic matter, and mineral dust in atmospheric aerosols determine the wavelength dependence of absorption (expressed as Absorption Angstrom Exponent, or AAE). Taken together, these results hold promise of improving information on aerosol composition from remote measurements. The purpose of this paper is to show that AAE values for Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) retrievals from Sun-sky measurements describing the full aerosol vertical column are also strongly correlated with aerosol composition or type. In particular, we find AAE values near 1 (the theoretical value for black carbon) for AERONET-measured aerosol columns dominated by urban-industrial aerosol, larger AAE values for biomass burning aerosols, and the largest AAE values for Sahara dust aerosols. Ambiguities in aerosol composition or mixtures thereof, resulting from intermediate AAE values, can be reduced via cluster analyses that supplement AAE with other variables, for example Extinction Angstrom Exponent (EAE), which is an indicator of particle size. Together with previous results, these results strengthen prospects for determining aerosol composition from space, for example using the Glory Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS), which promises retrievals of multiwavelength single-scattering albedo (SSA) and aerosol optical depth (and therefore aerosol absorption optical depth (AAOD) and AAE), as well as shape and other aerosol properties. Cluster analyses promise additional information content, for example by using the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) to add AAOD in the near ultraviolet and CALIPSO aerosol layer heights to reduce height-absorption ambiguity.

Citation: Russell, P. B., Bergstrom, R. W., Shinozuka, Y., Clarke, A. D., DeCarlo, P. F., Jimenez, J. L., Livingston, J. M., Redemann, J., Holben, B., Dubovik, O., and Strawa, A.: Absorption Angstrom Exponent in AERONET and related data as an indicator of aerosol composition, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 21785-21817, doi:10.5194/acpd-9-21785-2009, 2009.
 
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