A comparison of lognormal and gamma size distributions for characterizing the stratospheric aerosol phase function from optical particle counter measurements

Nyaku, Ernest; Loughman, Robert; Bhartia, Pawan K.; Deshler, Terry; Chen, Zhong; Colarco, Peter R.

A series of in situ measurements made by optical particle counters (OPCs) at Laramie, Wyoming, provides size-resolved stratospheric aerosol concentration data over the period 1971–2018. A subset of these data covering the period of 2008–2017 is analyzed in this study for the purpose of assessing the sensitivity of the stratospheric aerosol phase function to the aerosol size distribution (ASD) model used to fit the measurements. The two unimodal ASD models investigated are the unimodal lognormal (UMLN) and gamma distribution models, with the minimum inline-formulaχ2 method employed to assess how well each ASD fits the measurements. The aerosol phase function (inline-formulaPa(Θ)) for each ASD is calculated using Mie theory and is compared to the inline-formulaPa(Θ) derived from the Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmospheres (CARMA) sectional aerosol microphysics module. Comparing the inline-formulaχ2 values for the fits at altitudes of 20 and 25 inline-formulakm shows that the UMLN distribution better represents the OPC measurements; however, the gamma distribution fits the CARMA model results better than the UMLN model when the CARMA model results are subsetted into the OPC measurement bins. Comparing phase functions derived from the UMLN distribution fit to OPC data with gamma distributions fit to CARMA model results at the location of the OPC measurements shows a satisfying agreement (inline-formula±5 %) within the scattering angle range of limb sounding satellites. This uncertainty is considerably larger if the CARMA data are fit with a UMLN.

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Nyaku, Ernest / Loughman, Robert / Bhartia, Pawan K. / et al: A comparison of lognormal and gamma size distributions for characterizing the stratospheric aerosol phase function from optical particle counter measurements. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Ernest Nyaku et al.

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