The potential climatological and environmental importance of the stratospheric aerosol layer has prompted great interest in measuring the properties of this aerosol. In this paper we report on two recently deployed NASA satellite systems (SAM II and SAGE) that are monitoring the stratospheric aerosol. The satellite orbits are such that nearly global coverage is obtained. The instruments mounted in the spacecraft are sun photometers that measure solar intensity at specific wavelengths as it is moderated by atmospheric particulates and gases during each sunrise and sunset encountered by the satellites. The data obtained are “inverted” to yield vertical aerosol and gaseous (primarily ozone) extinction profiles with 1 km vertical resolution. Thus, latitudinal, longitudinal, and temporal variations in the aerosol layer can be evaluated. The satellite systems are being validated by a series of ground truth experiments using airborne and ground lidar, balloon-borne dustsondes, aircraft-mounted impactors, and other correlative sensors. We describe the SAM II and SAGE satellite systems, instrument characteristics, and mode of operation; outline the methodology of the experiments; and describe the ground truth experiments. We present preliminary results from these measurements.
Systems and Applied Sciences Corporation, Hampton, Va. 23666.
University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyo. 82071.