Remote sensing of aerosol water fraction, dry size distribution and soluble...

van Diedenhoven, B., Otto Hasekamp, B. Cairns, G. Schuster, S. Stamnes, M. Shook, and L. D. Ziemba (2022), Remote sensing of aerosol water fraction, dry size distribution and soluble fraction using multi-angle, multi-spectral polarimetry, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 15, 7411-7434, doi:10.5194/amt-15-7411-2022.

A framework to infer volume water fraction, soluble fraction and dry size distributions of fine-mode aerosol from multi-angle, multi-spectral polarimetry retrievals of column-averaged ambient aerosol properties is presented. The method is applied to observations of the Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP) obtained during two NASA aircraft campaigns, namely the Aerosol Cloud meTeorology Interactions oVer the western ATlantic Experiment (ACTIVATE) and the Cloud, Aerosol, and Monsoon Processes Philippines Experiment (CAMP2 Ex). All aerosol retrievals are statistically evaluated using in situ data. Volume water fraction is inferred from the retrieved ambient real part of the refractive index, assuming a dry refractive index of 1.54 and by applying a volume mixing rule to obtain the effective ambient refractive index. The uncertainties in inferred volume water fraction resulting from this simplified model are discussed and estimated to be lower than 0.2 and decreasing with increasing volume water fraction. The daily mean retrieved volume water fractions correlate well with the in situ values with a mean absolute difference of 0.09. Polarimeterretrieved ambient effective radius for daily data is shown to increase as a function of volume water fraction as expected. Furthermore, the effective variance of the size distributions also increases with increasing effective radius, which we show is consistent with an external mixture of soluble and insoluble aerosol. The relative variations of effective radius and variance over an observation period are then used to estimate the soluble fraction of the aerosol. Daily results of soluble fraction correlate well with in situ-observed sulfate mass fraction with a correlation coefficient of 0.79. Subsequently, inferred water and soluble fractions are used to derive dry fine-mode size distributions from their ambient counterparts. While dry effective radii obtained in situ and from RSP show similar ranges, in situ values are generally substantially smaller during the ACTIVATE deployments, which may be due to biases in RSP retrievals or in the in situ observations, or both. Both RSP and in situ observations indicate the dominance of aerosol with low hygroscopicity during the ACTIVATE and CAMP2 Ex campaigns. Furthermore, RSP indicates a high degree of external mixing of particles with low and high hygroscopicity. These retrievals of fine-mode water volume fraction and soluble fraction may be used for the evaluation of water uptake in atmospheric models. Furthermore, the framework allows us to estimate the variation in the concentration of fine-mode aerosol larger than a specific dry radius limit, which can be used as a proxy for the variation in cloud condensation nucleus concentrations. This framework may be applied to multi-angle, multispectral satellite data expected to be available in the near future.

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