Articles | Volume 2, issue 2
04 Sep 2009
 | 04 Sep 2009

Determination of aerosol properties from MAX-DOAS observations of the Ring effect

T. Wagner, T. Deutschmann, and U. Platt

Abstract. The first quantitative comparison of MAX-DOAS observations of the Ring effect with model simulations is presented. It is performed for a large variety of viewing geometries (solar zenith angles: 45° to 90°, elevation angles: 3°, 6°, 10°, 18°, 90°; three different azimuth angles), which allows a comprehensive test of our capabilities to measure and simulate the Ring effect. In addition to the Ring effect, also the observed O4 absorptions (optical densities) and radiances are compared with model simulations. In general good agreement is found for all measured quantities. From several sensitivity studies it is found that for most measurement situations, the aerosol optical depth has usually the strongest influence on the observed quantities, but also other aerosol properties like e.g. the vertical distribution have a significant effect. In some aspects, the qualitative dependence of the Ring effect on aerosol properties is similar to that of the O4 absorption. This can be understood, since both quantities depend strongly on the light path length in the lower atmosphere. However, since the Ring effect depends also on the properties of the scattering processes, in specific cases observation of the Ring effect can provide complementary information to that retrieved from the O4 observations. This is e.g. possible for measurements at small relative azimuth angles, from which information on the aerosol phase function can be derived. Observations at large solar zenith angle might allow the retrieval of stratospheric aerosol properties, even in cases with very low aerosol optical depths. In addition, Ring effect observations in zenith direction are rather sensitive to the aerosol optical depth (in contrast to O4 observations), which might allow to retrieve information on aerosol properties from existing zenith UV data sets prior to the MAX-DOAS era.