Characterization of the optical properties of atmospheric aerosols in Amazônia from long-term AERONET monitoring (1993–1995 and 1999–2006)



[1] We present a new climatology of atmospheric aerosols (primarily pyrogenic and biogenic) for the Brazilian tropics on the basis of a high-quality data set of spectral aerosol optical depth and directional sky radiance measurements from Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) Cimel Sun-sky radiometers at more than 15 sites distributed across the Amazon basin and adjacent Cerrado region. This network is the only long-term project (with a record including observations from more than 11 years at some locations) ever to have provided ground-based remotely-sensed column aerosol properties for this critical region. Distinctive features of the Amazonian area aerosol are presented by partitioning the region into three aerosol regimes: southern Amazonian forest, Cerrado, and northern Amazonian forest. The monitoring sites generally include measurements from the interval 1999–2006, but some sites have measurement records that date back to the initial days of the AERONET program in 1993. Seasonal time series of aerosol optical depth (AOD), Ångström exponent, and columnar-averaged microphysical properties of the aerosol derived from sky radiance inversion techniques (single-scattering albedo, volume size distribution, fine mode fraction of AOD, etc.) are described and contrasted for the defined regions. During the wet season, occurrences of mineral dust penetrating deep into the interior were observed.