Climatology of aerosol optical depth in north-central Oklahoma: 1992–2008



[1] Aerosol optical depth (AOD) has been measured at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program central facility near Lamont, Oklahoma, since the fall of 1992. Most of the data presented are from the multifilter rotating shadowband radiometer, a narrow-band, interference-filter Sun radiometer with five aerosol bands in the visible and near infrared; however, AOD measurements have been made simultaneously and routinely at the site by as many as three different types of instruments, including two pointing Sun radiometers. Scatterplots indicate high correlations and small biases consistent with earlier comparisons. The early part of this 16 year record had a disturbed stratosphere with residual Mt. Pinatubo aerosols, followed by the cleanest stratosphere in decades. As such, the last 13 years of the record reflect changes that have occurred predominantly in the troposphere. The field calibration technique is briefly described and compared to Langley calibrations from Mauna Loa Observatory. A modified cloud-screening technique is introduced that increases the number of daily averaged AODs retrieved annually to about 250 days compared with 175 days when a more conservative method was employed in earlier studies. AODs are calculated when the air mass is less than six; that is, when the Sun's elevation is greater than 9.25°. The more inclusive cloud screen and the use of most of the daylight hours yield a data set that can be used to more faithfully represent the true aerosol climate for this site. The diurnal aerosol cycle is examined month-by-month to assess the effects of an aerosol climatology on the basis of infrequent sampling such as that from satellites.