Light Extinction by Aerosols during Summer Air Pollution

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  • a University of Maryland and Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771
  • | b Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771
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Abstract

In order to utilize satellite measurements of optical thickness over land for estimating aerosol properties during air pollution episodes the optical thickness was measured from the surface and investigated. Aerosol optical thicknesses have been derived from solar transmission measurements in eight spectral bands within the band λ440–870 nm during the summers of 1980 and 1981 near Washington, DC. The optical thicknesses for the eight bands are strongly correlated. It was found that first eigenvalue of the covariance matrix of all observations accounts for 99% of the trace of the matrix. Since the measured aerosol optical thickness was closely proportional to the wavelength raised to a power, the aerosol size distribution derived from it is proportional to the diameter (d) raised to a power for the range of diameters between 0.1 to 1.0 μm. This power is insensitive to the total optical thickness. Changes in the aerosol optical thickness depend an several aerosol parameters, but it is difficult to identify the dominant one. The effects of relative humidity and accumulation mode concentration on the optical thickness are analyzed theoretically, and compared with the measurements.

Abstract

In order to utilize satellite measurements of optical thickness over land for estimating aerosol properties during air pollution episodes the optical thickness was measured from the surface and investigated. Aerosol optical thicknesses have been derived from solar transmission measurements in eight spectral bands within the band λ440–870 nm during the summers of 1980 and 1981 near Washington, DC. The optical thicknesses for the eight bands are strongly correlated. It was found that first eigenvalue of the covariance matrix of all observations accounts for 99% of the trace of the matrix. Since the measured aerosol optical thickness was closely proportional to the wavelength raised to a power, the aerosol size distribution derived from it is proportional to the diameter (d) raised to a power for the range of diameters between 0.1 to 1.0 μm. This power is insensitive to the total optical thickness. Changes in the aerosol optical thickness depend an several aerosol parameters, but it is difficult to identify the dominant one. The effects of relative humidity and accumulation mode concentration on the optical thickness are analyzed theoretically, and compared with the measurements.

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