Physical, chemical, and ultraviolet radiative characteristics of aerosol in central Alaska

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Abstract

[1] A new long-term monitoring site for providing multiwavelength (ultraviolet through near-infrared) and broadband irradiances has been established at the Poker Flat Research Range, Alaska, in order to assess the impacts of ozone, cloud cover, surface albedo, and aerosol conditions on trends in ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the surface. Targeted field measurements were conducted in the first year of site operation to characterize the properties of aerosols commonly found in the study region. Chemical analysis was used to match aerosol composition to aerosol size distributions and spectral aerosol optical depth (AOD). Results are reported on four air mass types: three springtime examples, including an Asian air mass with Gobi Desert dust, aged industrial pollution from the Arctic, and humid marine air, and a comparative case in late summer. Aerosol imported to central Alaska from extraregional sources produced small to moderate increases in UV optical depth calculated from direct-beam spectral extinction and a limited reduction in transmittance at UV wavelengths. Marine aerosol in a high-humidity environment produced the largest impact on UV extinction. The Angstrom coefficients and single scattering albedos calculated from the spectral AOD and irradiances and the spectral characteristics of size-specific aerosol absorption measurements showed distinct differences between the aerosol source types, suggesting that even in cases of low aerosol concentration, air mass characteristics influence the spectral and angular distributions of UV radiation that are important for modeling photochemical processes and biological exposure.

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