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J. J. Michalsky and G. M. Stokes

Abstract

Aerosol optical depth measurements based on the attenuation of direct solar radiation before and after the six major explosive eruptions of Mt. St. Helens during 1980 are presented. These automated measurements are from a site 200 km mostly cut and slightly north of the volcano. From the analysis it was concluded that in several cases the conversion of sulfur gases to sulfates proceeded much more rapidly (hours) than is usually found for tropospheric conditions. A possible explanation may be the greater availability of OH due to the presence of substantial water in the plume. The second major result of the analysis was that there was no evidence of a residual aerosol burden. Turbidity data taken between eruptions in 1980 were virtually identical in terms of magnitude and wavelength dependence to 1979 turbidity.

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Joseph J. Michalsky, Mark Kutchenreiter, and Charles N. Long

Abstract

Ventilators are used to keep the domes of pyranometers clean and dry, but they affect the nighttime offset as well. This paper examines different ventilation strategies. For the several commercial single-black-detector pyranometers with ventilators examined here, high-flow-rate [50 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and higher] 12-VDC (where VDC refers to voltage direct current) fans lower the offsets, lower the scatter, and improve the predictability of the offsets during the night compared with lower-flow-rate (35 CFM) 120-VAC (where VAC refers to voltage alternating current) fans operated in the same ventilator housings. Black-and-white pyranometers sometimes show improvement with DC ventilation, but in some cases DC ventilation makes the offsets slightly worse. Since the offsets for these black-and-white pyranometers are always small, usually no more than 1 W m−2, whether AC or DC ventilated, changing their ventilation to higher CFM DC ventilation is not imperative. Future work should include all major manufacturers of pyranometers and unventilated and ventilated pyranometers. An important outcome of future research will be to clarify under what circumstances nighttime data can be used to predict daytime offsets.

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J. Michalsky, E. Dutton, M. Rubes, D. Nelson, T. Stoffel, M. Wesley, M. Splitt, and J. DeLuisi

Abstract

Although most measurements of total downwelling shortwave irradiance are made with pyranometers, the World Climate Research Program’s Baseline Surface Radiation Network has recommended the use of the summation of shortwave components in which the direct normal irradiance is measured and multiplied by the cosine of the solar zenith angle and then added to the diffuse horizontal irradiance measured by a pyranometer that is shaded from direct solar radiation by a disk. The nonideal angular response of most pyranometers limits their accuracy to about 3%, or 20–30 W m−2, for instantaneous clear-sky measurements. An intensive study of 21 separate measurements of total horizontal irradiance was conducted during extreme winter conditions of low sun and cold temperatures over 12 days at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory. The experiment showed that the component sum methodology could lower the uncertainty by a factor of 2 or 3. A clear demonstration of this improvement was realized in a separate experiment conducted at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains Cloud and Radiation Testbed site during April 1996. Four independent measurements of downwelling shortwave irradiance using the component sum technique showed typical differences at solar noon of about 10 W m−2. The mean of these summed measurements at solar noon was lower than the mean of the most-well-calibrated pyranometer measurements, acquired simultaneously, by about 30 W m−2, which is consistent with the typical angular response of many pyranometers.

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John A. Augustine, Gary B. Hodges, Christopher R. Cornwall, Joseph J. Michalsky, and Carlos I. Medina

Abstract

The Surface Radiation budget (SURFRAD) network was developed for the United States in the middle 1990s in response to a growing need for more sophisticated in situ surface radiation measurements to support satellite system validation; numerical model verification; and modern climate, weather, and hydrology research applications. Operational data collection began in 1995 with four stations; two stations were added in 1998. Since its formal introduction to the research community in 2000, several additions and improvements have been made to the network’s products and infrastructure. To better represent the climate types of the United States, a seventh SURFRAD station was installed near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in June 2003. In 2001, the instrument used for the diffuse solar measurement was replaced with a type of pyranometer that does not have a bias associated with infrared radiative cooling of its receiving surface. Subsequently, biased diffuse solar data from 1996 to 2001 were corrected using a generally accepted method. Other improvements include the implementation of a clear-sky diagnostic algorithm and associated products, better continuity in the ultraviolet-B (UVB) data record, a reduced potential for error in the downwelling infrared measurements, and development of an aerosol optical depth algorithm. Of these, only the aerosol optical depth product has yet to be finalized. All SURFRAD stations are members of the international Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN). Data are submitted regularly in monthly segments to the BSRN archive in Zurich, Switzerland. Through this affiliation, the SURFRAD network became an official part of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) in April 2004.

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I. Reda, J. Hickey, C. Long, D. Myers, T. Stoffel, S. Wilcox, J. J. Michalsky, E. G. Dutton, and D. Nelson

Abstract

Thermopile pyranometers’ thermal offset has been recognized since the pyranometer’s inception. This offset is often overlooked or ignored because its magnitude is small compared to the overall solar signal at higher irradiance. With the demand of smaller uncertainty in measuring solar radiation, recent publications have described a renewed interest in this offset, its magnitude, and its effect on solar measurement networks for atmospheric science and solar energy applications. Recently, it was suggested that the magnitude of the pyranometer thermal offset is the same if the pyranometer is shaded or unshaded. Therefore, calibrating a pyranometer using a method known as the shade/unshade method would result in accurate responsivity calculations because the thermal offset error is canceled. When using the component sum method for the pyranometer calibration, the thermal offset error, which is typically negative when the sky is cloudless, does not cancel, resulting in an underestimated shortwave responsivity. Most operational pyranometers that are in use for solar radiation measuring networks are calibrated using the component sum method since it is possible to calibrate many pyranometers simultaneously. From this arises the importance of correcting the component sum method results to account for the thermal offset error.

In this article a method of using a blackbody system to calculate the net longwave responsivity of pyranometers, which is largely responsible for the offset error, is described. This longwave responsivity is then used to correct the pyranometer’s shortwave responsivity during the component sum method calibrations and thereby substantially reduces the effect of the offset error on the final pyranometer responsivity. Practical procedures for performing this calibration procedure along with its limitations and remaining uncertainties are given.

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Ellsworth G. Dutton, Joseph J. Michalsky, Thomas Stoffel, Bruce W. Forgan, John Hickey, Donald W. Nelson, Timothy L. Alberta, and Ibrahim Reda

Abstract

Diffuse-sky solar irradiance is an important quantity for radiation budget research, particularly as it relates to climate. Diffuse irradiance is one component of the total downwelling solar irradiance and contains information on the amount of downward-scattered, as opposed to directly transmitted, solar radiation. Additionally, the diffuse component is often required when calibrating total irradiance radiometers. A variety of pyranometers are commonly used to measure solar diffuse irradiance. An examination of some instruments for measuring diffuse irradiance using solar tracking shade disks is presented, along with an evaluation of the achieved accuracy. A data correction procedure that is intended to account for the offset caused by thermal IR exchange between the detector and filter domes in certain common diffuse pyranometers is developed and validated. The correction factor is derived from outputs of a collocated pyrgeometer that measures atmospheric infrared irradiance.

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The Arm Program's Water Vapor Intensive Observation Periods

Overview, Initial Accomplishments, and Future Challenges

H. E. Revercomb, D. D. Turner, D. C. Tobin, R. O. Knuteson, W. F. Feltz, J. Barnard, J. Bösenberg, S. Clough, D. Cook, R. Ferrare, J. Goldsmith, S. Gutman, R. Halthore, B. Lesht, J. Liljegren, H. Linné, J. Michalsky, V. Morris, W. Porch, S. Richardson, B. Schmid, M. Splitt, T. Van Hove, E. Westwater, and D. Whiteman

A series of water vapor intensive observation periods (WVIOPs) were conducted at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in Oklahoma between 1996 and 2000. The goals of these WVIOPs are to characterize the accuracy of the operational water vapor observations and to develop techniques to improve the accuracy of these measurements.

The initial focus of these experiments was on the lower atmosphere, for which the goal is an absolute accuracy of better than 2% in total column water vapor, corresponding to ~1 W m−2 of infrared radiation at the surface. To complement the operational water vapor instruments during the WVIOPs, additional instrumentation including a scanning Raman lidar, microwave radiometers, chilled-mirror hygrometers, a differential absorption lidar, and ground-based solar radiometers were deployed at the ARM site. The unique datasets from the 1996, 1997, and 1999 experiments have led to many results, including the discovery and characterization of a large (> 25%) sonde-to-sonde variability in the water vapor profiles from Vaisala RS-80H radiosondes that acts like a height-independent calibration factor error. However, the microwave observations provide a stable reference that can be used to remove a large part of the sonde-to-sonde calibration variability. In situ capacitive water vapor sensors demonstrated agreement within 2% of chilled-mirror hygrometers at the surface and on an instrumented tower. Water vapor profiles retrieved from two Raman lidars, which have both been calibrated to the ARM microwave radiometer, showed agreement to within 5% for all altitudes below 8 km during two WVIOPs. The mean agreement of the total precipitable water vapor from different techniques has converged significantly from early analysis that originally showed differences up to 15%. Retrievals of total precipitable water vapor (PWV) from the ARM microwave radiometer are now found to be only 3% moister than PWV derived from new GPS results, and about 2% drier than the mean of radiosonde data after a recently defined sonde dry-bias correction is applied. Raman lidar profiles calibrated using tower-mounted chilled-mirror hygrometers confirm the expected sensitivity of microwave radiometer data to water vapor changes, but it is drier than the microwave radiometer (MWR) by 0.95 mm for all PWV amounts. However, observations from different collocated microwave radiometers have shown larger differences than expected and attempts to resolve the remaining inconsistencies (in both calibration and forward modeling) are continuing.

The paper concludes by outlining the objectives of the recent 2000 WVIOP and the ARM–First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) Water Vapor Experiment (AFWEX), the latter of which switched the focus to characterizing upper-tropospheric humidity measurements.

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Laura D. Riihimaki, Connor Flynn, Allison McComiskey, Dan Lubin, Yann Blanchard, J. Christine Chiu, Graham Feingold, Daniel R. Feldman, Jake J. Gristey, Christian Herrera, Gary Hodges, Evgueni Kassianov, Samuel E. LeBlanc, Alexander Marshak, Joseph J. Michalsky, Peter Pilewskie, Sebastian Schmidt, Ryan C. Scott, Yolanda Shea, Kurtis Thome, Richard Wagener, and Bruce Wielicki

Abstract

Industry advances have greatly reduced the cost and size of ground-based shortwave (SW) sensors for the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared spectral ranges that make up the solar spectrum, while simultaneously increasing their ruggedness, reliability, and calibration accuracy needed for outdoor operation. These sensors and collocated meteorological equipment are an important part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) User Facility, which has supported parallel integrated measurements of atmospheric and surface properties for more than two decades at fixed and mobile sites around the world. The versatile capability of these ground-based measurements includes 1) rich spectral information required for retrieving cloud and aerosol microphysical properties, such as cloud phase, cloud particle size, and aerosol size distributions, and 2) high temporal resolution needed for capturing fast evolution of cloud microphysical properties in response to rapid changes in meteorological conditions. Here we describe examples of how ARM’s spectral radiation measurements are being used to improve understanding of the complex processes governing microphysical, optical, and radiative properties of clouds and aerosol.

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