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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Oct 2018

Research article | 30 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Stratospheric aerosol characteristics from space-borne observations: extinction coefficient and Ångström exponent

Elizaveta Malinina1, Alexei Rozanov1, Landon Rieger2,a, Adam Bourassa2, Heinrich Bovensmann1, John P. Burrows1, and Doug Degenstein2 Elizaveta Malinina et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 2Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
  • anow at: Canadian Center for Climate Modeling and Analysis (CCCma), Environment Canada, Victoria (BC), Canada

Abstract. Stratospheric aerosols are of a great importance to the scientific community, predominantly because of their role in climate, but also because accurate knowledge of aerosol characteristics is relevant for trace gases retrievals from remote sensing instruments. There are several data sets published which provide aerosol extinction coefficients in the stratosphere. However, for the instruments measuring in the limb viewing geometry, the use of this parameter is associated with uncertainties resulting from the need to assume an aerosol particle size distribution (PSD) within the retrieval process. These uncertainties can be mitigated if PSD information is retrieved. While occultation instruments provide more accurate information on the aerosol extinction coefficient, in this study, it was shown that limb instruments have better potential for the PSD retrieval, especially during the background aerosol loading periods. A data set containing PSD information was recently retrieved from SCIAMACHY limb measurements and provides two parameters of the log-normal PSD for the SCIAMACHY operational period (2002–2012). In this study, the data set is expanded by aerosol extinction coefficients and Ångström exponents calculated from the retrieved PSD parameters. Errors in the Ångström exponents and aerosol extinction coefficients are assessed using synthetic retrievals. For the extinction coefficient the resulting accuracy is within ±25 %, and for the Ångström exponent, it is better than 10 %. The recalculated SCIAMACHY aerosol extinction coefficients are compared to those from SAGE II. The differences between the instruments vary from 0 to 25 % depending on the wavelength. Ångström exponent comparison with SAGE II shows differences between 10 % at 31 km and 40 % at 18 km. Comparisons with SAGE II, however, suffer from the low amount of collocated profiles. Furthermore, the Ångström exponents obtained from the limb viewing instrument OSIRIS are used for the comparison. This comparison shows an average difference within 7 %. The time series of these differences do not show signatures of any remarkable events. Besides, the temporal behavior of the Ångström exponent in the tropics is analyzed using the SCIAMACHY data set. It is shown, that there is no simple relation between the Ångström exponent and the PSD because the same value of Ångström exponent can be obtained from an infinite number of combinations of the PSD parameters.

Elizaveta Malinina et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Elizaveta Malinina et al.
Elizaveta Malinina et al.
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Short summary
The paper covers the problems related to the derivation of aerosol extinction coefficients and Ångström exponents from space-borne instruments working in limb and occultation viewing geometries. Aerosol extinction coefficients and Ångström exponents were calculated from SCIAMACHY aerosol particle size data set. The results were compared with the data from SAGE II and OSIRIS instruments. The Ångström exponent in the tropical regions and its dependency on particle size parameters are discussed.
The paper covers the problems related to the derivation of aerosol extinction coefficients and...