Articles | Volume 10, issue 9
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 3203–3213, 2017
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 3203–3213, 2017

Research article 01 Sep 2017

Research article | 01 Sep 2017

Estimation of aerosol complex refractive indices for both fine and coarse modes simultaneously based on AERONET remote sensing products

Ying Zhang1, Zhengqiang Li1, Yuhuan Zhang2, Donghui Li1, Lili Qie1, Huizheng Che3, and Hua Xu1 Ying Zhang et al.
  • 1State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Satellite Remote Sensing, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 2Satellite Environment Center, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100094, China
  • 3Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Chinese Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China

Abstract. Climate change assessment, especially model evaluation, requires a better understanding of complex refractive indices (CRIs) of atmospheric aerosols – separately for both fine and coarse modes. However, the widely used aerosol CRI obtained by the global Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) corresponds to total-column aerosol particles without separation for fine and coarse modes. This paper establishes a method to separate CRIs of fine and coarse particles based on AERONET volume particle size distribution (VPSD), aerosol optical depth (AOD) and absorbing AOD (AAOD). The method consists of two steps. First a multimodal log-normal distribution that best approximates the AERONET VPSD is found. Then the fine and coarse mode CRIs are found by iterative fitting of AERONET AODs to Mie calculations. The numerical experiment shows good performance for typical water-soluble, biomass burning and dust aerosol types, and the estimated uncertainties on the retrieved sub-mode CRIs are about 0.11 (real part) and 78 % (imaginary part). The 1-year measurements at the AERONET Beijing site are processed, and we obtain CRIs of 1.48–0.010i (imaginary part at 440 nm is 0.012) for fine mode particles and 1.49–0.004i (imaginary part at 440 nm is 0.007) for coarse mode particles, for the period of 2014–2015. Our results also suggest that both fine and coarse aerosol mode CRIs have distinct seasonal characteristics; in particular, CRIs of fine particles in winter season are significantly higher than summer due to possible anthropogenic influences.