Absolute calibration of the colour index and O4 absorption derived from Multi AXis (MAX-)DOAS measurements and their application to a standardised cloud classification algorithm
Abstract. A method is developed for the calibration of the colour index (CI) and the O4 absorption derived from differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) measurements of scattered sunlight. The method is based on the comparison of measurements and radiative transfer simulations for well-defined atmospheric conditions and viewing geometries. Calibrated measurements of the CI and the O4 absorption are important for the detection and classification of clouds from MAX-DOAS observations. Such information is needed for the identification and correction of the cloud influence on Multi AXis (MAX-)DOAS profile inversion results, but might be also be of interest on their own, e.g. for meteorological applications. The calibration algorithm was successfully applied to measurements at two locations: Cabauw in the Netherlands and Wuxi in China. We used CI and O4 observations calibrated by the new method as input for our recently developed cloud classification scheme and also adapted the corresponding threshold values accordingly. For the observations at Cabauw, good agreement is found with the results of the original algorithm. Together with the calibration procedure of the CI and O4 absorption, the cloud classification scheme, which has been tuned to specific locations/conditions so far, can now be applied consistently to MAX-DOAS measurements at different locations. In addition to the new threshold values, further improvements were introduced to the cloud classification algorithm, namely a better description of the SZA (solar zenith angle) dependence of the threshold values and a new set of wavelengths for the determination of the CI. We also indicate specific areas for future research to further improve the cloud classification scheme.