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  • Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT)

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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Perim de Faria, Julia; Bundke, Ulrich; Freedman, Andrew; Onasch, Timothy B.; Petzold, Andreas;
    Project: EC | ENVRI PLUS (654182), EC | IGAS (312311), EC | IAGOS-ERI (212128)

    An evaluation of the performance and relative accuracy of a Cavity Attenuated Phase-Shift Single Scattering Albedo Monitor (CAPS PMSSA; Aerodyne Research, Inc.) was conducted in an optical-closure study with proven technologies: Cavity Attenuated Phase-Shift Particle Extinction Monitor (CAPS PMex; Aerodyne Research, Inc.), three-wavelength integrating nephelometer (TSI Model 3563) and three-wavelength filter-based Particle Soot Absorption Photometer (PSAP; Radiance Research Inc.). The evaluation was conducted by connecting the instruments to a controlled aerosol generation system and comparing the measured scattering, extinction and absorption coefficients measured by the CAPS PMSSA with the independent measurements. Three different particle types were used to generate aerosol samples with single-scattering albedos (SSAs) ranging from 0.4 to 1.0 at 630 nm wavelength. The CAPS PMSSA measurements compared well with the proven technologies. Extinction measurement comparisons exhibited a slope of the linear regression line for the full dataset between 1.05 and 1.01, an intercept below ±1.5×10-6 m−1 (±1.5 Mm−1), and a regression coefficient R2>0.99, whereas scattering measurements had a slope between 0.90 and 1.04, an intercept of less than ±2.0×10-6 m−1 (2.0 Mm−1), and a coefficient R2>0.96. The derived CAPS PMSSA absorption compared well to the PSAP measurements for the small particle sizes and modest (0.4 to 0.6) SSA values tested, with a linear regression slope between 0.90 and 1.07, an intercept of ±3.0×10-6 m−1 (3.0 Mm−1), and a coefficient R2>0.99. For the SSA measurements, agreement was highest (regression slopes within 1 %) for SSA =1.0 particles at extinction levels of per tens of inverse megameters and above; however, as extinctions approach 0, small uncertainties in the baseline can introduce larger errors. SSA measurements for absorbing particles exhibited absolute differences up to 18 %, though it is not clear which measurement had the best relative accuracy. For a given particle type, the CAPS PMSSA instrument exhibited the lowest scatter around the average. This study demonstrates that the CAPS PMSSA is a robust and reliable instrument for the direct measurement of the scattering and extinction coefficients and thus SSA. This conclusion also holds for the indirect measurement of the absorption coefficient with the constraint that the relative accuracy of this particular determination degrades as the SSA and particle size increases.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Tirpitz, Jan-Lukas; Frieß, Udo; Hendrick, François; Alberti, Carlos; Allaart, Marc; Apituley, Arnoud; Bais, Alkis; Beirle, Steffen; Berkhout, Stijn; Bognar, Kristof; +55 more
    Project: EC | QA4ECV (607405), EC | VERTIGO (607905), EC | ACTRIS-2 (654109), NSERC

    The second Cabauw Intercomparison of Nitrogen Dioxide measuring Instruments (CINDI-2) took place in Cabauw (the Netherlands) in September 2016 with the aim of assessing the consistency of multi-axis differential optical absorption spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) measurements of tropospheric species (NO2, HCHO, O3, HONO, CHOCHO and O4). This was achieved through the coordinated operation of 36 spectrometers operated by 24 groups from all over the world, together with a wide range of supporting reference observations (in situ analysers, balloon sondes, lidars, long-path DOAS, direct-sun DOAS, Sun photometer and meteorological instruments). In the presented study, the retrieved CINDI-2 MAX-DOAS trace gas (NO2, HCHO) and aerosol vertical profiles of 15 participating groups using different inversion algorithms are compared and validated against the colocated supporting observations, with the focus on aerosol optical thicknesses (AOTs), trace gas vertical column densities (VCDs) and trace gas surface concentrations. The algorithms are based on three different techniques: six use the optimal estimation method, two use a parameterized approach and one algorithm relies on simplified radiative transport assumptions and analytical calculations. To assess the agreement among the inversion algorithms independent of inconsistencies in the trace gas slant column density acquisition, participants applied their inversion to a common set of slant columns. Further, important settings like the retrieval grid, profiles of O3, temperature and pressure as well as aerosol optical properties and a priori assumptions (for optimal estimation algorithms) have been prescribed to reduce possible sources of discrepancies. The profiling results were found to be in good qualitative agreement: most participants obtained the same features in the retrieved vertical trace gas and aerosol distributions; however, these are sometimes at different altitudes and of different magnitudes. Under clear-sky conditions, the root-mean-square differences (RMSDs) among the results of individual participants are in the range of 0.01–0.1 for AOTs, (1.5–15) ×1014molec.cm-2 for trace gas (NO2, HCHO) VCDs and (0.3–8)×1010molec.cm-3 for trace gas surface concentrations. These values compare to approximate average optical thicknesses of 0.3, trace gas vertical columns of 90×1014molec.cm-2 and trace gas surface concentrations of 11×1010molec.cm-3 observed over the campaign period. The discrepancies originate from differences in the applied techniques, the exact implementation of the algorithms and the user-defined settings that were not prescribed. For the comparison against supporting observations, the RMSDs increase to a range of 0.02–0.2 against AOTs from the Sun photometer, (11–55)×1014molec.cm-2 against trace gas VCDs from direct-sun DOAS observations and (0.8–9)×1010molec.cm-3 against surface concentrations from the long-path DOAS instrument. This increase in RMSDs is most likely caused by uncertainties in the supporting data, spatiotemporal mismatch among the observations and simplified assumptions particularly on aerosol optical properties made for the MAX-DOAS retrieval. As a side investigation, the comparison was repeated with the participants retrieving profiles from their own differential slant column densities (dSCDs) acquired during the campaign. In this case, the consistency among the participants degrades by about 30 % for AOTs, by 180 % (40 %) for HCHO (NO2) VCDs and by 90 % (20 %) for HCHO (NO2) surface concentrations. In former publications and also during this comparison study, it was found that MAX-DOAS vertically integrated aerosol extinction coefficient profiles systematically underestimate the AOT observed by the Sun photometer. For the first time, it is quantitatively shown that for optimal estimation algorithms this can be largely explained and compensated by considering biases arising from the reduced sensitivity of MAX-DOAS observations to higher altitudes and associated a priori assumptions.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Kaltsonoudis, Christos; Jorga, Spiro D.; Louvaris, Evangelos; Florou, Kalliopi; Pandis, Spyros N.;
    Project: EC | EUROCHAMP-2020 (730997), EC | ATMOPACS (267099)

    Smog chamber experiments using ambient air as a starting point can improve our understanding of the evolution of atmospheric particulate matter at timescales longer than those achieved by traditional laboratory experiments. These types of studies can take place under more realistic environmental conditions addressing the interactions among multiple pollutants. The use of two identical smog chambers, with the first serving as the baseline chamber and the second as the perturbation chamber (in which addition or removal of pollutants, addition of oxidants, change in the relative humidity, etc.), can facilitate the interpretation of the results in such inherently complex experiments. The differences of the measurements in the two chambers can be used as the basis for the analysis of the corresponding chemical or physical processes of ambient air. A portable dual-smog-chamber system was developed using two identical pillow-shaped smog chambers (1.5 m3 each). The two chambers are surrounded by UV lamps in a hexagonal arrangement yielding a total JNO2 of 0.1 min−1. The system can be easily disassembled and transported, enabling the study of various atmospheric environments. Moreover, it can be used with natural sunlight. The results of test experiments using ambient air as the starting point are discussed as examples of applications of this system.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Reum, Friedemann; Gerbig, Christoph; Lavric, Jost V.; Rella, Chris W.; Göckede, Mathias;
    Project: EC | INTAROS (727890), EC | PAGE21 (282700), EC | PERCCOM (333796)

    Measurements of dry air mole fractions of atmospheric greenhouse gases are used in inverse models of atmospheric tracer transport to quantify their sources and sinks. The measurements have to be calibrated to a common scale to avoid bias in the inferred fluxes. For this purpose, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has set requirements for the interlaboratory compatibility of atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) measurements. A widely used series of devices for these measurements are the GHG analyzers manufactured by Picarro, Inc. These are often operated in humid air, and the effects of water vapor are corrected for in post-processing. Here, we report on rarely detected and previously unexplained biases of the water correction method for CO2 and CH4 in the literature. They are largest at water vapor mole fractions below 0.5 % H2O, which were undersampled in previous studies, and can therefore affect measurements obtained in humid air. Setups that dry sample air using Nafion membranes may be affected as well if there are differences in residual water vapor levels between sample and calibration air. The biases are caused by a sensitivity of the pressure in the measurement cavity to water vapor. We correct these biases by modifying the water correction method from the literature. Our method relies on experiments that maintain stable water vapor levels to allow equilibration of cavity pressure. In our experiments with the commonly used droplet method, this requirement was not fulfilled. Correcting CO2 measurements proved challenging, presumably because of our humidification method. Open questions pertain to differences among analyzers and variability over time. In our experiments, the biases amounted to considerable fractions of the WMO interlaboratory compatibility goals. Since measurements of dry air mole fractions of CO2 and CH4 are also subject to other uncertainties, correcting the cavity pressure-related biases helps keep the overall accuracy of measurements obtained with Picarro GHG analyzers in humid and potentially in Nafion-dried air within the WMO goals.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Weaver, Dan; Strong, Kimberly; Walker, Kaley A.; Sioris, Chris; Schneider, Matthias; McElroy, C. Thomas; Vömel, Holger; Sommer, Michael; Weigel, Katja; Rozanov, Alexei; +4 more
    Project: EC | MUSICA (256961), NSERC

    Improving measurements of water vapour in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) is a priority for the atmospheric science community. In this work, UTLS water vapour profiles derived from Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) satellite measurements are assessed with coincident ground-based measurements taken at a high Arctic observatory at Eureka, Nunavut, Canada. Additional comparisons to satellite measurements taken by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS), Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS), Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric CHartography (SCIAMACHY), and Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) are included to put the ACE Fourier transform spectrometer (ACE-FTS) and ACE Measurement of Aerosol Extinction in the Stratosphere and Troposphere Retrieved by Occultation (ACE-MAESTRO) results in context. Measurements of water vapour profiles at Eureka are made using a Bruker 125HR solar absorption Fourier transform infrared spectrometer at the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) and radiosondes launched from the Eureka Weather Station. Radiosonde measurements used in this study were processed with software developed by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN) to account for known biases and calculate uncertainties in a well-documented and consistent manner. ACE-FTS measurements were within 11 ppmv (parts per million by volume; 13 %) of 125HR measurements between 6 and 14 km. Between 8 and 14 km ACE-FTS profiles showed a small wet bias of approximately 8 % relative to the 125HR. ACE-FTS water vapour profiles had mean differences of 13 ppmv (32 %) or better when compared to coincident radiosonde profiles at altitudes between 6 and 14 km; mean differences were within 6 ppmv (12 %) between 7 and 11 km. ACE-MAESTRO profiles showed a small dry bias relative to the 125HR of approximately 7 % between 6 and 9 km and 10 % between 10 and 14 km. ACE-MAESTRO profiles agreed within 30 ppmv (36 %) of the radiosondes between 7 and 14 km. ACE-FTS and ACE-MAESTRO comparison results show closer agreement with the radiosondes and PEARL 125HR overall than other satellite datasets – except for AIRS. Close agreement was observed between AIRS and the 125HR and radiosonde measurements, with mean differences within 5 % and correlation coefficients above 0.83 in the troposphere between 1 and 7 km. Comparisons to MLS at altitudes around 10 km showed a dry bias, e.g. mean differences between MLS and radiosondes were −25.6 %. SCIAMACHY comparisons were very limited due to minimal overlap between the vertical extent of the measurements. TES had no temporal overlap with the radiosonde dataset used in this study. Comparisons between TES and the 125HR showed a wet bias of approximately 25 % in the UTLS and mean differences within 14 % below 5 km.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Tsekeri, Alexandra; Amiridis, Vassilis; Marenco, Franco; Nenes, Athanasios; Marinou, Eleni; Solomos, Stavros; Rosenberg, Phil; Trembath, Jamie; Nott, Graeme J.; Allan, James; +5 more
    Project: EC | EUFAR (227159), UKRI | An airborne dual ionisati... (NE/E018092/1), EC | BEYOND (316210), EC | ACTRIS-2 (654109)

    We present the In situ/Remote sensing aerosol Retrieval Algorithm (IRRA) that combines airborne in situ and lidar remote sensing data to retrieve vertical profiles of ambient aerosol optical, microphysical and hygroscopic properties, employing the ISORROPIA II model for acquiring the particle hygroscopic growth. Here we apply the algorithm on data collected from the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe-146 research aircraft during the ACEMED campaign in the Eastern Mediterranean. Vertical profiles of aerosol microphysical properties have been derived successfully for an aged smoke plume near the city of Thessaloniki with aerosol optical depth of ∼ 0.4 at 532 nm, single scattering albedos of ∼ 0.9–0.95 at 550 nm and typical lidar ratios for smoke of ∼ 60–80 sr at 532 nm. IRRA retrieves highly hydrated particles above land, with 55 and 80 % water volume content for ambient relative humidity of 80 and 90 %, respectively. The proposed methodology is highly advantageous for aerosol characterization in humid conditions and can find valuable applications in aerosol–cloud interaction schemes. Moreover, it can be used for the validation of active space-borne sensors, as is demonstrated here for the case of CALIPSO.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Lorente, Alba; Folkert Boersma, K.; Yu, Huan; Dörner, Steffen; Hilboll, Andreas; Richter, Andreas; Liu, Mengyao; Lamsal, Lok N.; Barkley, Michael; Smedt, Isabelle; +10 more
    Project: EC | QA4ECV (607405)

    Air mass factor (AMF) calculation is the largest source of uncertainty in NO2 and HCHO satellite retrievals in situations with enhanced trace gas concentrations in the lower troposphere. Structural uncertainty arises when different retrieval methodologies are applied within the scientific community to the same satellite observations. Here, we address the issue of AMF structural uncertainty via a detailed comparison of AMF calculation methods that are structurally different between seven retrieval groups for measurements from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). We estimate the escalation of structural uncertainty in every sub-step of the AMF calculation process. This goes beyond the algorithm uncertainty estimates provided in state-of-the-art retrievals, which address the theoretical propagation of uncertainties for one particular retrieval algorithm only. We find that top-of-atmosphere reflectances simulated by four radiative transfer models (RTMs) (DAK, McArtim, SCIATRAN and VLIDORT) agree within 1.5 %. We find that different retrieval groups agree well in the calculations of altitude resolved AMFs from different RTMs (to within 3 %), and in the tropospheric AMFs (to within 6 %) as long as identical ancillary data (surface albedo, terrain height, cloud parameters and trace gas profile) and cloud and aerosol correction procedures are being used. Structural uncertainty increases sharply when retrieval groups use their preference for ancillary data, cloud and aerosol correction. On average, we estimate the AMF structural uncertainty to be 42 % over polluted regions and 31 % over unpolluted regions, mostly driven by substantial differences in the a priori trace gas profiles, surface albedo and cloud parameters. Sensitivity studies for one particular algorithm indicate that different cloud correction approaches result in substantial AMF differences in polluted conditions (5 to 40 % depending on cloud fraction and cloud pressure, and 11 % on average) even for low cloud fractions (< 0.2) and the choice of aerosol correction introduces an average uncertainty of 50 % for situations with high pollution and high aerosol loading. Our work shows that structural uncertainty in AMF calculations is significant and that it is mainly caused by the assumptions and choices made to represent the state of the atmosphere. In order to decide which approach and which ancillary data are best for AMF calculations, we call for well-designed validation exercises focusing on polluted conditions in which AMF structural uncertainty has the highest impact on NO2 and HCHO retrievals.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Schneider, Matthias; Wiegele, Andreas; Barthlott, Sabine; González, Yenny; Christner, Emanuel; Dyroff, Christoph; García, Omaira E.; Hase, Frank; Blumenstock, Thomas; Sepúlveda, Eliezer; +4 more
    Project: EC | ACTRIS (262254), EC | MUSICA (256961)

    In the lower/middle troposphere, {H2O,δD} pairs are good proxies for moisture pathways; however, their observation, in particular when using remote sensing techniques, is challenging. The project MUSICA (MUlti-platform remote Sensing of Isotopologues for investigating the Cycle of Atmospheric water) addresses this challenge by integrating the remote sensing with in situ measurement techniques. The aim is to retrieve calibrated tropospheric {H2O,δD} pairs from the middle infrared spectra measured from ground by FTIR (Fourier transform infrared) spectrometers of the NDACC (Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change) and the thermal nadir spectra measured by IASI (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer) aboard the MetOp satellites. In this paper, we present the final MUSICA products, and discuss the characteristics and potential of the NDACC/FTIR and MetOp/IASI {H2O,δD} data pairs. First, we briefly resume the particularities of an {H2O,δD} pair retrieval. Second, we show that the remote sensing data of the final product version are absolutely calibrated with respect to H2O and δD in situ profile references measured in the subtropics, between 0 and 7 km. Third, we reveal that the {H2O,δD} pair distributions obtained from the different remote sensors are consistent and allow distinct lower/middle tropospheric moisture pathways to be identified in agreement with multi-year in situ references. Fourth, we document the possibilities of the NDACC/FTIR instruments for climatological studies (due to long-term monitoring) and of the MetOp/IASI sensors for observing diurnal signals on a quasi-global scale and with high horizontal resolution. Fifth, we discuss the risk of misinterpreting {H2O,δD} pair distributions due to incomplete processing of the remote sensing products.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Fuchs, Hendrik; Novelli, Anna; Rolletter, Michael; Hofzumahaus, Andreas; Pfannerstill, Eva Y.; Kessel, Stephan; Edtbauer, Achim; Williams, Jonathan; Michoud, Vincent; Dusanter, Sebastien; +35 more
    Project: UKRI | Measurement of the OH che... (NE/D004756/1), ANR | Cappa (ANR-11-LABX-0005), NSF | Resolving Issues of Hydro... (1450838), EC | SARLEP (681529), EC | PIMMS (287382)

    Hydroxyl (OH) radical reactivity (kOH) has been measured for 18 years with different measurement techniques. In order to compare the performances of instruments deployed in the field, two campaigns were conducted performing experiments in the atmospheric simulation chamber SAPHIR at Forschungszentrum Jülich in October 2015 and April 2016. Chemical conditions were chosen either to be representative of the atmosphere or to test potential limitations of instruments. All types of instruments that are currently used for atmospheric measurements were used in one of the two campaigns. The results of these campaigns demonstrate that OH reactivity can be accurately measured for a wide range of atmospherically relevant chemical conditions (e.g. water vapour, nitrogen oxides, various organic compounds) by all instruments. The precision of the measurements (limit of detection < 1 s−1 at a time resolution of 30 s to a few minutes) is higher for instruments directly detecting hydroxyl radicals, whereas the indirect comparative reactivity method (CRM) has a higher limit of detection of 2 s−1 at a time resolution of 10 to 15 min. The performances of the instruments were systematically tested by stepwise increasing, for example, the concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), water vapour or nitric oxide (NO). In further experiments, mixtures of organic reactants were injected into the chamber to simulate urban and forested environments. Overall, the results show that the instruments are capable of measuring OH reactivity in the presence of CO, alkanes, alkenes and aromatic compounds. The transmission efficiency in Teflon inlet lines could have introduced systematic errors in measurements for low-volatile organic compounds in some instruments. CRM instruments exhibited a larger scatter in the data compared to the other instruments. The largest differences to reference measurements or to calculated reactivity were observed by CRM instruments in the presence of terpenes and oxygenated organic compounds (mixing ratio of OH reactants were up to 10 ppbv). In some of these experiments, only a small fraction of the reactivity is detected. The accuracy of CRM measurements is most likely limited by the corrections that need to be applied to account for known effects of, for example, deviations from pseudo first-order conditions, nitrogen oxides or water vapour on the measurement. Methods used to derive these corrections vary among the different CRM instruments. Measurements taken with a flow-tube instrument combined with the direct detection of OH by chemical ionisation mass spectrometry (CIMS) show limitations in cases of high reactivity and high NO concentrations but were accurate for low reactivity (< 15 s−1) and low NO (< 5 ppbv) conditions.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Langowski, Martin P.; Savigny, Christian; Burrows, John P.; Fussen, Didier; Dawkins, Erin C. M.; Feng, Wuhu; Plane, John M. C.; Marsh, Daniel R.;
    Project: NSERC , EC | CODITA (291332)

    During the last decade, several limb sounding satellites have measured the global sodium (Na) number densities in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT). Datasets are now available from Global Ozone Monitoring by Occultation of Stars (GOMOS), the SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartography (SCIAMACHY) (both on Envisat) and the Optical Spectrograph and InfraRed Imager System (OSIRIS) (on Odin). Furthermore, global model simulations of the Na layer in the MLT simulated by the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model, including the Na species (WACCM-Na), are available. In this paper, we compare these global datasets.The observed and simulated monthly averages of Na vertical column densities agree reasonably well with each other. They show a clear seasonal cycle with a summer minimum most pronounced at the poles. They also show signs of a semi-annual oscillation in the equatorial region. The vertical column densities vary from 0. 5 × 109 to 7 × 109 cm−2 near the poles and from 3 × 109 to 4 × 109 cm−2 at the Equator. The phase of the seasonal cycle and semi-annual oscillation shows small differences between the Na amounts retrieved from different instruments. The full width at half maximum of the profiles is 10 to 16 km for most latitudes, but significantly smaller in the polar summer. The centroid altitudes of the measured sodium profiles range from 89 to 95 km, whereas the model shows on average 2 to 4 km lower centroid altitudes. This may be explained by the mesopause being 3 km lower in the WACCM simulations than in measurements. Despite this global 2–4 km shift, the model captures well the latitudinal and temporal variations. The variation of the WACCM dataset during the year at different latitudes is similar to the one of the measurements. Furthermore, the differences between the measured profiles with different instruments and therefore different local times (LTs) are also present in the model-simulated profiles. This capturing of latitudinal and temporal variations is also found for the vertical column densities and profile widths.

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