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Variability of biomass burning aerosol optical characteristics in southern...

Eck, T. F., B. Holben, D. E. Ward, M. M. Mukelabai, O. Dubovik, A. Smirnov, J. S. Schafer, N. C. Hsu, S. J. Piketh, A. Queface, J. Le Roux, B. Swap, and I. Slutsker (2003), Variability of biomass burning aerosol optical characteristics in southern Africa during the SAFARI 2000 dry season campaign and a comparison of single scattering albedo estimates from radiometric measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 108, 8477, doi:10.1029/2002JD002321.

Measurements of the column-integrated aerosol optical properties in the southern African region were made by Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) Sun-sky radiometers at several sites in August–September 2000 as a part of the Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI) 2000 dry season field campaign. Fine mode biomass burning aerosols dominated in the northern part of the study region (Zambia), which is an active burning region, and other aerosols including fossil fuel burning, industrial, and aeolian coarse mode types also contributed to the aerosol mixture in other regions (South Africa and Mozambique), which were not as strongly dominated by local burning. The large amount of smoke produced in the north lead to a north-south gradient in aerosol optical depth (ta ) in September, with biomass burning aerosol concentrations reduced by dispersion and deposition during transport. Large average diurnal variations of ta (typical diurnal range of 25%) were observed at all sites in Zambia as a result of large diurnal trends in fire counts in that region that peak in midafternoon. However, for all sites located downwind to the south, there was relatively little (~5–10%) average diurnal trend observed as the aerosol transport is not strongly influenced by diurnal cycles. AERONET radiometer retrievals of aerosol single scattering albedo (w0) in Zambia showed relatively constant values as a function of ta for ta440 ranging from 0.4 to ~2.5. The wavelength dependence of w0varied significantly over the region, with greater decreases for increasing wavelength at smoke-dominated sites than for sites influenced by a significant coarse mode aerosol component. Retrievals of midvisible w0 based on the fitting of Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR; 400–700 nm) flux measurements to modeled fluxes for smoke in Mongu, Zambia yielded an average value of 0.84. This is in close agreement with the estimated average of 0.85 derived from interpolation of the AERONET retrievals made at 440 and 675 nm for August–September 2000. The spectral dependence of w0 independently retrieved with the AERONET measurements and with diffuse fraction measurements in Mongu, Zambia was similar for both techniques, as a result of both methods retrieving the imaginary index of refraction (~0.030–0.035 on one day) with very little wavelength dependence.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)