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

Schafer, Joel S.; Eck, Tom F.; Holben, Brent N.; Thornhill, Kenneth L.; Ziemba, Luke D.; Sawamura, Patricia; Moore, Richard H.; Slutsker, Ilya; Anderson, Bruce E.; Sinyuk, Alexander; Giles, David M.; Smirnov, Alexander; Beyersdorf, Andreas J.; Winstead, Edward L.

Aerosol volume size distribution (VSD) retrievals from the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) aerosol monitoring network were obtained during multiple DRAGON (Distributed Regional Aerosol Gridded Observational Network) campaigns conducted in Maryland, California, Texas and Colorado from 2011 to 2014. These VSD retrievals from the field campaigns were used to make comparisons with near-simultaneous in situ samples 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 h) 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, the radius of peak concentration (rpeak_conc) and the VSD fine-mode width (widthpeak_conc). 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 (relative humidity; RH <20 %) values. For the combined multiple campaign dataset, the average difference in rpeak_conc was 0.033±0.035µm (ambient AERONET values were 15.8 % larger than dried LARGE values), and the average difference in widthpeak_conc was 0.042±0.039µm (AERONET values were 25.7 % larger). For a subset of aircraft data, the LARGE data were adjusted to account for ambient humidification. For these cases, the AERONET–LARGE average differences were smaller, with rpeak_conc differing by 0.011±0.019µm (AERONET values were 5.2 % larger) and widthpeak_conc average differences equal to 0.030±0.037µm (AERONET values were 15.8 % larger).

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Schafer, Joel S. / Eck, Tom F. / Holben, Brent N. / et al: Intercomparison of aerosol volume size distributions derived from AERONET ground-based remote sensing and LARGE in situ aircraft profiles during the 2011&#8211;2014 DRAGON and DISCOVER-AQ experiments. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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