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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
29 Nov 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Remote sensing of PM2.5 during cloudy and nighttime periods using ceilometer backscatter
Siwei Li1, Everette Joseph2, Qilong Min2, Bangsheng Yin2, Ricardo Sakai1, and Megan K. Payne1 1NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Howard University, Washington, DC 20001, USA
2Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY 12203, USA
Abstract. Monitoring PM2.5 (particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter d ≤ 2.5 μm) mass concentration is of more importance recently because of the negative impacts of fine particles on human health. However, monitoring PM2.5 during cloudy and nighttime periods is difficult since nearly all the passive instruments used for aerosol remote sensing are not able to measure aerosol optical depth (AOD) under either cloudy or nighttime conditions. In this study, an empirical model based on the regression between PM2.5 and the near surface backscatter measured by ceilometers was developed and tested using six years of data (2006 to 2011) from the Howard University Beltsville Campus (HUBC) site. The empirical model can explain ~ 56 %, ~ 34 %, and ~ 42 % of the variability in the hourly average PM2.5 during daytime clear, daytime cloudy and nighttime periods respectively. Meteorological conditions and seasons were found to influence the relationship between PM2.5 mass concentration and the surface backscatter. Overall the model can explain ~ 48 % of the variability in the hourly average PM2.5 at the HUBC site when considering the seasonal variation. The model also was tested on the four years of data (2012 to 2015) from the ARM SGP site which was geographically and climatologically different from the HUBC site. The results show that the empirical model can explain 67 % and 83 % of the variability in the daily average PM2.5 at the ARM SGP site and HUBC site respectively. The findings of this study illustrate the strong need for ceilometer data in air quality monitoring under cloudy and nighttime conditions. Since ceilometers are used broadly over the world, they may provide an important supplemental source of information of aerosols to determine surface PM2.5 concentrations.

Citation: Li, S., Joseph, E., Min, Q., Yin, B., Sakai, R., and Payne, M. K.: Remote sensing of PM2.5 during cloudy and nighttime periods using ceilometer backscatter, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2016-305, in review, 2016.
Siwei Li et al.
Siwei Li et al.


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