National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2005

Analysis of shipboard aerosol optical thickness measurements from multiple sunphotometers aboard the R/V Ronald H. Brown during the Aerosol Characterization Experiment – Asia

Miller, M.A., K. Knobelspiesse, R. Frouin, M.J. Bartholomew, R.M. Reynolds, C. Pietras, G. Fargion, P. Quinn, and F. Thieuleux

Appl. Optics, 44(18), 3805–3820, doi: 10.1364/AO.44.003805 (2005)

Marine sunphotometer measurements collected aboard the R/V Ronald H. Brown during the Aerosol Characterization Experiment - Asia (ACE-Asia) are used to evaluate the ability of complementary instrumentation to obtain the best possible estimates of aerosol optical thickness and Ångstrom exponent from ships at sea. A wide range of aerosol conditions, including clean maritime conditions and highly polluted coastal environments, were encountered during the ACE-Asia cruise. The results of this study suggest that shipboard hand-held sunphotometers and fast-rotating shadow-band radiometers (FRSRs) yield similar measurements and uncertainties if proper measurement protocols are used and if the instruments are properly calibrated. The automated FRSR has significantly better temporal resolution (2 min) than the hand-held sunphotometers when standard measurement protocols are used, so it more faithfully represents the variability of the local aerosol structure in polluted regions. Conversely, results suggest that the hand-held sunphotometers may perform better in clean, maritime air masses for unknown reasons. Results also show that the statistical distribution of the Ångstrom exponent measurements is different when the distributions from hand-held sunphotometers are compared with those from the FRSR and that the differences may arise from a combination of factors.

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