We briefly but systematically review major sources of aerosol data, emphasizing suites of measurements that seem most likely to contribute to assessments of global aerosol climate forcing. The strengths and limitations of existing satellite, surface, and aircraft remote sensing systems are described, along with those of direct sampling networks and ship-based stations. It is evident that an enormous number of aerosol-related observations have been made, on a wide range of spatial and temporal sampling scales, and that many of the key gaps in this collection of data could be filled by technologies that either exist or are expected to be available in the near future. Emphasis must be given to combining remote sensing and in situ active and passive observations and integrating them with aerosol chemical transport models, in order to create a more complete environmental picture, having sufficient detail to address current climate forcing questions. The Progressive Aerosol Retrieval and Assimilation Global Observing Network (PARAGON) initiative would provide an organizational framework to meet this goal.

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Footnotes

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California

NOAA Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington

Max-Planck-Institut fur Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California