Articles | Volume 3, issue 6
Research article
19 Nov 2010
Research article |  | 19 Nov 2010

Aerosol Optical Depth measurements at 340 nm with a Brewer spectrophotometer and comparison with Cimel sunphotometer observations at Uccle, Belgium

V. De Bock, H. De Backer, A. Mangold, and A. Delcloo

Abstract. The Langley Plot Method (LPM) is adapted for the retrieval of Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) values at 340 nm from Brewer#178 sun scan measurements between 335 and 345 nm (convoluted with the band pass function of the Cimel sunphotometer filter at 340 nm) performed in Uccle, Belgium. The use of sun scans instead of direct sun measurements simplifies the comparison of the AOD values with quasi-simultaneous Cimel sunphotometer values. Also, the irradiance at 340 nm is larger than the one at 320.1 nm due to lower ozone absorption, thus improving the signal to noise ratio. For the selection of the cloudless days (from now on referred to as calibration quality clear days), a new set of criteria is proposed. With the adapted method, individual clear sky AOD values, for which the selection criteria are also presented in this article, are calculated for a period from September 2006 until the end of August 2010. These values are then compared to quasi-simultaneous Cimel sunphotometer measurements, showing a very good agreement (the correlation coefficient, the slope and the intercept of the regression line are respectively 0.974, 0.968 and 0.011), which proves that good quality observations can be obtained from Brewer sun scan measurements at 340 nm. The analysis of the monthly and seasonal Brewer AODs at Uccle is consistent with studies at other sites reporting on the seasonal variation of AODs in Europe. The highest values can be observed in summer and spring, whereas more than 50% of the winter AODs are lower than 0.3. On a monthly scale, the lowest AOD are observed in December and the highest values occur in June and April. No clear weekly cycle is observed for Uccle. The current cloud-screening algorithm is still an issue, which means that some AOD values can still be influenced by scattered clouds. This effect can be seen when comparing the calculated monthly mean values of the Brewer with the AERONET measurements.