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Open Access Aerosol Properties Computed from Aircraft-Based Observations during the ACE-Asia Campaign: 1. Aerosol Size Distributions Retrieved from Optical Thickness Measurements

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In this article, aerosol size distributions retrieved from aerosol layer optical thickness spectra, derived from the 14-channel NASA Ames Airborne Tracking Sunphotometer (AATS-14) measurements during the ACE-Asia campaign, are presented. Focusing on distinct aerosol layers (with different particle characteristics) observed in four vertical profiles, we compare the results of two different retrieval methods: constrained linear inversion and a non-linear least squares method. While the former does not use any assumption about the analytical form of the size distribution, the latter was used to retrieve parameters of a bimodal lognormal size distribution. Furthermore, comparison of the retrieved size distributions with those measured in-situ, aboard the same aircraft on which the sunphotometer was flown, was carried out. Results of the two retrieval methods showed good agreement in the radius ranges from ∼0.1 m to ∼1.2-2.0 m, close to the range of retrievable size distributions from the AATS-14 measurements. In this radius interval, shapes of retrieved and measured size distributions were similar, in accord with close wavelength dependencies of the corresponding optical thicknesses. Additionally, the effect of a size-resolved refractive index on the retrieved size spectra was investigated in selected cases. Retrieval using a constant refractive index pertaining to particle sizes within the range of retrievable size distributions resulted in a size distribution very close to the one retrieved using a size-resolved refractive index.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia,Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Sonoma, California, USA 2: School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia 3: Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Sonoma, California, USA,Now at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA 4: Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, USA 5: NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, USA 6: Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Studies, Marina, California, USA 7: Department of Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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