Articles | Volume 9, issue 7
Research article
29 Jul 2016
Research article |  | 29 Jul 2016

Characterisation and improvement of j(O1D) filter radiometers

Birger Bohn, Dwayne E. Heard, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos, Christian Plass-Dülmer, Rainer Schmitt, and Lisa K. Whalley

Abstract. Atmospheric O3 →  O(1D) photolysis frequencies j(O1D) are crucial parameters for atmospheric photochemistry because of their importance for primary OH formation. Filter radiometers have been used for many years for in situ field measurements of j(O1D). Typically the relationship between the output of the instruments and j(O1D) is non-linear because of changes in the shape of the solar spectrum dependent on solar zenith angles and total ozone columns. These non-linearities can be compensated for by a correction method based on laboratory measurements of the spectral sensitivity of the filter radiometer and simulated solar actinic flux density spectra. Although this correction is routinely applied, the results of a previous field comparison study of several filter radiometers revealed that some corrections were inadequate. In this work the spectral characterisations of seven instruments were revised, and the correction procedures were updated and harmonised considering recent recommendations of absorption cross sections and quantum yields of the photolysis process O3 →  O(1D). Previous inconsistencies were largely removed using these procedures. In addition, optical interference filters were replaced to improve the spectral properties of the instruments. Successive determinations of spectral sensitivities and field comparisons of the modified instruments with a spectroradiometer reference confirmed the improved performance. Overall, filter radiometers remain a low-maintenance alternative of spectroradiometers for accurate measurements of j(O1D) provided their spectral properties are known and potential drifts in sensitivities are monitored by regular calibrations with standard lamps or reference instruments.

Short summary
Filter radiometers are instruments that quantify the rate of formation of excited oxygen atoms from photolysis of ozone in the atmosphere. The excited oxygen atoms are important for the atmospheric self-cleaning ability. The radiometers were characterised by measurements of their spectral response. Together with field comparisons with a reference instrument, the characterisations improved the performance. That will help to better understand atmospheric photochemistry in future research.