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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-434
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
02 Jan 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
On the accuracy of aerosol photoacoustic spectrometer calibrations using absorption by ozone
Nicholas W. Davies1,2, Michael I. Cotterell1,2, Cathryn Fox2, Kate Szpek2, Jim M. Haywood1,3, and Justin M. Langridge2 1College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4QF, UK
2Observation Based Research, Met Office, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
3Earth System and Mitigation Science, Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
Abstract. In recent years, photoacoustic spectroscopy has emerged as an invaluable tool for the accurate measurement of light absorption by atmospheric aerosol. Photoacoustic instruments require calibration, which is often achieved by measuring the photoacoustic signal generated by known quantities of gaseous ozone. Recent work has questioned the validity of this approach at short visible wavelengths (404 nm), indicating systematic calibration errors of the order of a factor of two. We revisit this result and test the validity of the ozone calibration method using a suite of multi-pass photoacoustic cells operating at wavelengths 405, 514 and 658 nm. Using aerosolised nigrosin with mobility-selected diameters in the range 250–425 nm, we demonstrate excellent agreement between measured and modelled ensemble absorption cross sections at all wavelengths, thus demonstrating the validity of the ozone-based calibration method for aerosol photoacoustic spectroscopy at visible wavelengths.

Citation: Davies, N. W., Cotterell, M. I., Fox, C., Szpek, K., Haywood, J. M., and Langridge, J. M.: On the accuracy of aerosol photoacoustic spectrometer calibrations using absorption by ozone, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-434, in review, 2018.
Nicholas W. Davies et al.
Nicholas W. Davies et al.
Nicholas W. Davies et al.

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Short summary
The poorly characterised optical properties of atmospheric aerosols are one of the major uncertainties when modelling future climate change. Photoacoustic spectroscopy is an accurate and sensitive method for measurement of aerosol optical properties. Photoacoustic spectrometers require calibration, hence this study validates the use of ozone as a calibrant and simultaneously verifies the accuracy of the photoacoustic spectrometers in question.
The poorly characterised optical properties of atmospheric aerosols are one of the major...
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