Articles | Volume 7, issue 3
Research article
04 Mar 2014
Research article |  | 04 Mar 2014

The Spectral Aerosol Extinction Monitoring System (SǼMS): setup, observational products, and comparisons

A. Skupin, A. Ansmann, R. Engelmann, H. Baars, and T. Müller

Abstract. The Spectral Aerosol Extinction Monitoring System (SǼMS) is presented that allows us to continuously measure the spectral extinction coefficient of atmospheric aerosol particles along an approximately 2.7 km long optical path at 30–50 m height above ground in Leipzig (51.3° N, 12.4° E), Germany. The fully automated instrument measures the ambient aerosol extinction coefficients from 300 to 1000 nm. The main goal of SǼMS observations are long-term studies of the relationship between particle extinction and relative humidity from below 40% to almost 100%. The setup is presented and observations (a case study and statistical results for 2009) are discussed in terms of time series of 550 nm particle optical depth, Ångström exponent, and particle size distribution retrieved from the spectrally resolved extinction. The SǼMS measurements are compared with simultaneously performed EARLINET (European Aerosol Research Lidar Network) lidar, AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network) sun photometer, and in situ aerosol observations of particle size distribution and related extinction coefficients on the roof of our institute. Consistency between the different measurements is found, which corroborates the quality of the SǼMS observations. Statistical results of a period of 1 yr (2009) show mode extinction values of 0.09 km−1 (SǼMS), 0.075 km−1 (AERONET), and 0.03 km−1 (in situ). Ångström exponents for this period are 0.19 (390–880 nm, SǼMS) and 1.55 (440–870 nm, AERONET).