High temporal resolution estimates of columnar aerosol microphysical parameters from spectrum of aerosol optical depth by linear estimation: application to long-term AERONET and star-photometry measurements
Abstract. This work deals with the applicability of the linear estimation technique (LE) to invert spectral measurements of aerosol optical depth (AOD) provided by AERONET CIMEL sun photometers. The inversion of particle properties using only direct-sun AODs allows the evaluation of parameters such as effective radius (reff) and columnar volume aerosol content (V) with significantly better temporal resolution than the operational AERONET algorithm which requires both direct sun and sky radiance measurements. Sensitivity studies performed demonstrate that the constraints on the range of the inversion are very important to minimize the uncertainties, and therefore estimates of reff can be obtained with uncertainties less than 30 % and of V with uncertainties below 40 %. The LE technique is applied to data acquired at five AERONET sites influenced by different aerosol types and the retrievals are compared with the results of the operational AERONET code. Good agreement between the two techniques is obtained when the fine mode predominates, while for coarse mode cases the LE results systematically underestimate both reff and V. The highest differences are found for cases where no mode predominates. To minimize these biases, correction functions are developed using the multi-year database of observations at selected sites, where the AERONET retrieval is used as the reference. The derived corrections are tested using data from 18 other AERONET stations offering a range of aerosol types. After correction, the LE retrievals provide better agreement with AERONET for all the sites considered. Finally, the LE approach developed here is applied to AERONET and star-photometry measurements in the city of Granada (Spain) to obtain day-to-night time evolution of columnar aerosol microphysical properties.