Aerosol optical characterization by nephelometer and lidar: The Baltimore Supersite experiment during the Canadian forest fire smoke intrusion

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Abstract

[1] High spatial and temporal resolution elastic backscatter lidar data from Baltimore are analyzed with a near-end approach to estimate vertical profiles of the aerosol extinction coefficient. The near-end approach makes use of the (1) aerosol scattering coefficient measured at the surface with a nephelometer (0.530 μm), (2) surface level particle size distribution, and (3) refractive index calculated using Mie theory to estimate the aerosol extinction coefficient boundary condition for the lidar equation. There was a broad range of atmospheric turbidity due to a strong haze event, which occurred because of smoke transport from Canadian forest fires, and led to a wide range of observed atmospheric properties. The index of refraction for aerosols estimated during the entire study period is 1.5–0.47 i, which is typical for soot. The measured surface level aerosol scattering coefficient ranged from σp = 0.002 to σp = 0.541 km−1, and the computed aerosol extinction coefficient spanned values κp = 0.01 to κp = 1.05 km−1. The derived mass concentration and the mass scattering ranges were 3.96–194 μg m−3 and 0.05–3.260 m2g−1, respectively. The aerosol optical properties were dominated by light absorption by soot.

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