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Aerosol Size Distributions Obtained by Inversions of Spectral Optical Depth Measurements

Michael D. KingThe University of Arizona, Tucson 85721

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Dale M. ByrneThe University of Arizona, Tucson 85721

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Benjamin M. HermanThe University of Arizona, Tucson 85721

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John A. ReaganThe University of Arizona, Tucson 85721

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Abstract

Columnar aerosol size distributions have been inferred by numerically inverting particulate optical depth measurements as a function of wavelength. An inversion formula which explicitly includes the magnitude of the measurement variances is derived and applied to optical depth measurements obtained in Tucson with a solar radiometer. It is found that the individual size distributions of the aerosol particles (assumed spherical), at least for radii ≳ 0.1 μm, fall into one of three distinctly different categories. Approximately 50% of all distributions examined thus far can best be represented as a composite of a Junge distribution plus a distribution of relatively monodispersed larger particles centered at a radius of about 0.5 μm. Scarcely 20% of the distributions yielded Junge size distributions, while 30% yielded relatively monodispersed distributions of the log-normal or gamma distribution types. A representative selection of each of these types will be presented and discussed. The sensitivity of spectral attenuation measurements to the radii limits and refractive index assumed in the numerical inversion will also be addressed.

Abstract

Columnar aerosol size distributions have been inferred by numerically inverting particulate optical depth measurements as a function of wavelength. An inversion formula which explicitly includes the magnitude of the measurement variances is derived and applied to optical depth measurements obtained in Tucson with a solar radiometer. It is found that the individual size distributions of the aerosol particles (assumed spherical), at least for radii ≳ 0.1 μm, fall into one of three distinctly different categories. Approximately 50% of all distributions examined thus far can best be represented as a composite of a Junge distribution plus a distribution of relatively monodispersed larger particles centered at a radius of about 0.5 μm. Scarcely 20% of the distributions yielded Junge size distributions, while 30% yielded relatively monodispersed distributions of the log-normal or gamma distribution types. A representative selection of each of these types will be presented and discussed. The sensitivity of spectral attenuation measurements to the radii limits and refractive index assumed in the numerical inversion will also be addressed.

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