Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Column closure studies of lower tropospheric aerosol and water vapor during ACE-Asia using airborne Sun photometer and airborne in situ and ship-based lidar measurements



[1] We assess the consistency (closure) between solar beam attenuation by aerosols and water vapor measured by airborne Sun photometry and derived from airborne in situ and ship-based lidar measurements during the April 2001 Asian Pacific Regional Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-Asia). The airborne data presented here were obtained aboard the Twin Otter aircraft. Comparing aerosol extinction σep(550 nm) from four different techniques shows good agreement for the vertical distribution of aerosol layers. However, the level of agreement in absolute magnitude of the derived aerosol extinction varied among the aerosol layers sampled. The σep(550 nm) computed from airborne in situ size distribution and composition measurements shows good agreement with airborne Sun photometry in the marine boundary layer but is considerably lower in layers dominated by dust if the particles are assumed to be spherical. The σep(550 nm) from airborne in situ scattering and absorption measurements are about ∼13% lower than those obtained from airborne Sun photometry during 14 vertical profiles. Combining lidar and the airborne Sun photometer measurements reveals the prevalence of dust layers at altitudes up to 10 km with layer aerosol optical depth (from 3.5 to 10 km altitude) of ∼0.1 to 0.2 (500 nm) and extinction-to-backscatter ratios of 59–71 sr (523 nm). The airborne Sun photometer aboard the Twin Otter reveals a relatively dry atmosphere during ACE-Asia with all water vapor columns <1.5 cm and water vapor densities ρw < 12 g/m3. Comparing layer water vapor amounts and ρw from the airborne Sun photometer to the same quantities measured with aircraft in situ sensors leads to a high correlation (r2 = 0.96), but the Sun photometer tends to underestimate ρw by 7%.