National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2012

Effect of wind speed on aerosol optical depth over remote oceans, based on data from the Maritime Aerosol Network

Smirnov, A., A.M. Sayer, B.N. Holben, N.C. Hsu, S.M. Sakerin, A. Macke, N.B. Nelson, Y. Courcoux, T.J. Smyth, P. Croot, P.K. Quinn, J. Sciare, S.K. Gulev, S. Piketh, R. Losno, S. Kinne, and V.F. Radionov

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 5, 377–388, doi: 10.5194/amt-5-377-2012 (2012)

The Maritime Aerosol Network (MAN) has been collecting data over the oceans since November 2006. The MAN archive provides a valuable resource for aerosol studies in maritime environments. In the current paper we investigate correlations between ship-borne aerosol optical depth (AOD) and near-surface wind speed, either measured (onboard or from satellite) or modeled (NCEP). According to our analysis, wind speed influences columnar aerosol optical depth, although the slope of the linear regression between AOD and wind speed is not steep (~0.004–0.005), even for strong winds over 10 m s−1. The relationships show significant scatter (correlation coefficients typically in the range 0.3–0.5); the majority of this scatter can be explained by the uncertainty on the input data. The various wind speed sources considered yield similar patterns. Results are in good agreement with the majority of previously published relationships between surface wind speed and ship-based or satellite-based AOD measurements. The basic relationships are similar for all the wind speed sources considered; however, the gradient of the relationship varies by around a factor of two depending on the wind data used.

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