Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
Research article
28 Feb 2011
Research article |  | 28 Feb 2011

Assessments of urban aerosol pollution in Moscow and its radiative effects

N. Y. Chubarova, M. A. Sviridenkov, A. Smirnov, and B. N. Holben

Abstract. Simultaneous measurements by the collocated AERONET CIMEL sun/sky photometers at the Moscow State University Meteorological Observatory (MSU MO) and at the Zvenigorod Scientific Station (ZSS) of the A. M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics during September 2006–April 2009 provide the estimates of the effects of urban pollution on various aerosol properties in different seasons. The average difference in aerosol optical thickness between MO MSU and ZSS, which can characterize the effect of aerosol pollution, has been estimated to be about dAOT = 0.02 in visible spectral region. The most pronounced difference is observed in winter conditions when relative AOT difference can reach 26%. The high correlation of the AOT's, the Angstrom exponent values and the effective radii between the sites confirms that natural processes are the dominating factor in the changes of the aerosol properties even over the Moscow megacity area. The existence of positive correlation between dAOT and difference in water vapor content explains many cases with large dAOT between the sites by the time lag in the airmass advection. However, after excluding the difference due to this factor, AOT in Moscow remains higher even in a larger number of cases (more than 75%) with the same mean dAOT = 0.02. Due to the negative average difference in aerosol radiative forcing at the TOA of about dARFTOA = −0.9 W m−2, the aerosol urban pollution provides a distinct cooling effect of the atmosphere. The PAR and UV irradiance reaching the ground is only 2–3% lower in Moscow due to the pollution effects, though in some situations the attenuation can reach 13% in visible and more than 20% in UV spectral region.