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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 24 Jun 2019

Submitted as: research article | 24 Jun 2019

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

On-flight intercomparison of three miniature aerosol absorption sensors using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

Michael Pikridas1, Spiros Bezantakos1, Grisa Močnik2,3, Christos Keleshis1, Fred Brechtel4, Iasonas Stavroulas1,5, Gregoris Demetriades1, Panayiota Antoniou1, Panagiotis Vouterakos1, Marios Argyrides1, Eleni Liakakou5, Luka Drinovec2,3, Eleni Marinou1,6, Vassilis Amiridis5, Mihalis Vrekoussis1,7,8, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos1,5, and Jean Sciare1 Michael Pikridas et al.
  • 1Energy Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia 1645, Cyprus
  • 2Aerosol d.o.o., 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 3Jozef Stefan Institute, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 4Brechtel Mfg. Inc., 1789 Addison Way, Hayward, CA 94544, USA
  • 5Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, 15236, Athens, Greece
  • 6German Aerospace Center (DLR), Earth Observation Center, 82234 Weßling, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 7Institute of Environmental Physics, U. of Bremen, Otto-Hahn-Allee 1, 28359 Bremen, Germany
  • 8Center of Marine Environmental Sciences, MARUM, 28359 Bremen, Germany

Abstract. The present study investigates for the first time, the ground and flight performances of three miniaturized aerosol absorption sensors integrated on-board of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). These sensors were evaluated during two contrasted field campaigns performed respectively at an urban site (Athens, Greece) impacted mainly by local traffic and domestic wood burning sources and at a remote regional background site (Agia Marina, Cyprus) impacted by long-range transported sources including dust.

The three sensors were intercompared at the ground level against two commercially available instruments (MAAP and AE33) used as a reference. The measured signal of the three sensors was converted into absorption coefficient, equivalent black carbon concentration (eBC) and, when applicable, to signal saturation corrections following the suggestions of the manufacturers. Despite the diversity of the aerosol origin, chemical composition, sources and concentration levels during the two campaigns, the aerosol absorption sensors exhibited similar behavior against the reference instruments. The deviation from the reference during both campaigns concerning (eBC) mass was less than 8 %, suggesting that those miniature sensors that report BC mass are tuned/corrected to measure more accurately eBC rather than the absorption coefficient which deviated at least 15 %.

The overall potential use of miniature aerosol absorption sensor on-board UAS is also illustrated here. UAS-based absorption measurements were used to investigate the vertical distribution of eBC over Athens up to 1 km above sea level during January 2016, reaching the top of the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Our results highlighted a heterogeneous boundary layer concentration of absorbing aerosol, especially in the early morning hours with the concurrent peak traffic emissions at ground-level and fast development of the boundary layer. Vertical homogeneity was achieved when the boundary layer depth became stable.

Michael Pikridas et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Michael Pikridas et al.
Michael Pikridas et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This work evaluates the performance of three sensors that monitor black carbon (soot). These sensors, exhibit similar behavior as their rack-mounted counterparts and are therefore promising for more extended use. A reconstruction of the black carbon mass vertical distribution above Athens, Greece is shown using drones, similar to those acquired by remote sensing techniques. The potential of combining miniature sensors with drones for at least the lower part of the atmosphere is exhibited.
This work evaluates the performance of three sensors that monitor black carbon (soot). These...