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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 05 Apr 2019

Submitted as: research article | 05 Apr 2019

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

Intercomparison of aerosol volume size distributions derived from AERONET ground based remote sensing and LARGE in situ aircraft profiles during the 2011–2014 DRAGON and DISCOVER-AQ experiments

Joel S. Schafer1, Tom F. Eck2, Brent N. Holben3, Kenneth L. Thornhill4, Luke D. Ziemba4, Patricia Sawamura4, Ilya Slutsker1, Bruce E. Anderson4, Alexander Sinyuk1, David Giles1, Alexander Smirnov1, Andreas J. Beyersdorf4,5, and Edward L. Winstead4 Joel S. Schafer et al.
  • 1Science Systems and Applications, Inc. Lanham, MD, USA
  • 2Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD, USA
  • 3NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 4NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 5University of California at San Bernardino, CA, USA

Abstract. Aerosol volume size distributions (VSD) retrievals from the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) aerosol monitoring network were obtained during multiple DRAGON (Distributed Regional Aerosol Gridded Observational Network) conducted in Maryland, California, Texas and Colorado from 2011 to 2014 . These VSD products were used during field campaigns to make comparisons with near simultaneous in situ sampling from aircraft profiles carried out by the NASA Langley Aerosol Group Experiment (LARGE) team as part of four campaigns comprising the DISCOVER-AQ (Deriving Information on Surface conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality) experiments. For coincident (± 1 hour) measurements there were a total of 91 profile-averaged fine mode size distributions acquired with the LARGE Ultra-High Sensitivity Aerosol Spectrometer (UHSAS) instrument matched to 153 AERONET size distributions retrieved from almucantars at 22 different ground sites. These volume size distributions were characterized by two fine mode parameters, radius of peak concentration (rpeak_conc) and VSD fine mode width (widthfine_mode). The AERONET retrievals of these VSD fine mode parameters, derived from ground-based almucantar sun photometer data, represent ambient humidity values while the LARGE aircraft spiral profile retrievals provide dried aerosol (RH < 20 %) values. For the combined multiple campaign data set, the average difference in rpeak_conc was 0.033 ± 0.035 μm (ambient AERONET values were 15.8 % larger than dried LARGE values) and the average difference in width_fine_mode was 0.042 ± 0.039 μm (AERONET values were 25.7 % larger). When the LARGE retrieved values were adjusted to account for ambient humidification, the agreement notably improved with AERONET-LARGE average differences for rpeak_conc decreasing to 0.011 ± 0.019 μm (AERONET values 5.2 % larger) and widthfine_mode average differences decreasing to 0.030 ± 0.037 μm (AERONET values 15.8 % larger).

Joel S. Schafer 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
Joel S. Schafer et al.
Joel S. Schafer et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Two independent datasets of column integrated size distributions of atmospheric aerosols were compared during four regional campaigns of 1-month duration from 2011–2014 in four US states. One set of measurements was from observations at multiple locations at the surface using retrievals from sun photometers while the other relied on in-situ aircraft sampling. These campaigns represent the most extensive comparison of AERONET size distributions with aircraft sampling of particle size on record.
Two independent datasets of column integrated size distributions of atmospheric aerosols were...