Multiple wavelength retrieval of tropospheric aerosol optical properties from MAXDOAS measurements in Beijing
Abstract. We report on the retrieval of aerosol extinction profiles at four wavelengths from ground-based multi-axis differential absorption spectroscopy (MAXDOAS) measurements performed in Beijing, China. Measurements were made over a 10-month time period (June 2008 to April 2009) using a newly developed MAXDOAS instrument. A retrieval algorithm, based on an on-line implementation of the radiative transfer code LIDORT and the optimal estimation technique, has been designed to provide near real time information on aerosol extinction vertical profiles. The algorithm was applied to O4 measurements at four wavelengths (360, 477, 577, and 630 nm). The total aerosol optical depths (AODs) calculated from the retrieved profiles exhibit higher values in spring and summer and lower values in autumn and winter. Comparison of the retrieved total AODs with values from a co-located CIMEL sunphotometer revealed a good correlation. The best results are obtained for the UV region with a correlation coefficient (R) of 0.91 and a slope of the linear regression fit of 1.1. At the longest wavelength, R drops down to 0.67 and the slope increases to 1.5. The results confirm that good quality O4 slant column measurements are essential for the success of the retrievals. A method is presented to determine a correction factor to account for systematic errors. It is demonstrated that the algorithm is capable of reliably retrieving aerosol extinction profiles for a wide range of atmospheric conditions (total AODs at 360 nm ranging from about 0.1 to 3). The results open up new perspectives for the extension of the algorithm for the near real time retrieval of trace gas vertical profiles.