26 Jul 2023
 | 26 Jul 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Stratospheric aerosol characteristics from SCIAMACHY limb observations: 2-parameter retrieval

Christine Pohl, Felix Wrana, Alexei Rozanov, Terry Deshler, Elizaveta Malinina, Christian von Savigny, Landon A. Rieger, Adam E. Bourassa, and John P. Burrows

Abstract. Stratospheric aerosols play a key role in atmospheric chemistry and climate. Their particle size is a crucial factor controlling the microphysical, radiative, and chemical aerosol processes in the stratosphere. Despite its importance, available observations on aerosol particle size are rather sparse. This limits our understanding and knowledge about the mechanisms and importance of chemical and climate aerosol feedbacks. The retrieval described by Malinina et al. (2018) provides the stratospheric particle size distribution (PSD) from SCIAMACHY limb observations in the tropics. This algorithm has now been improved and extended to work on the entire globe. Two PSD parameters of a unimodal lognormal PSD, the median radius and the geometric standard deviation, are retrieved between 18 and 35 km altitude from SCIAMACHY limb observations by a multi-wavelength non-linear regularized inversion. This assumes a fixed number density profile. The extinction coefficient and the effective radius are calculated. The effective Lambertian surface albedo pre-retrieved from coinciding SCIAMACHY nadir observations is integrated into the retrieval algorithm to mitigate the influence of the surface albedo on the retrieval results. The aerosol characteristics from SCIAMACHY are compared with in-situ balloon-borne measurements from Laramie, Wyoming, and retrievals from the satellite instruments SAGE II, SAGE III, and OSIRIS. In the northern hemisphere, the median radius differs by less than 27 % and the geometric standard deviation by less than 11 % from both balloon-borne and SAGE III data. Differences are mainly attributed to errors in the assumed a priori number density profile. Globally, the SCIAMACHY extinction coefficients at 750 nm deviate by less than 35 % from SAGE II, SAGE III, and OSIRIS data. The effective radius from SCIAMACHY, balloon-borne measurements, and SAGE III agree within about 18 % while the effective radius based on SAGE II measurements is systematically larger. The novel data set containing the effective radius and the aerosol extinction coefficient at 525, 750, and 1020 nm from SCIAMACHY observations is publicly available.

Christine Pohl et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2023-156', Robert Damadeo, 05 Sep 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2023-156', Anonymous Referee #2, 11 Sep 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on amt-2023-156', Anonymous Referee #3, 21 Sep 2023

Christine Pohl et al.

Christine Pohl et al.


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Short summary
The knowledge of stratospheric aerosol characteristics is important to understand the chemical and climate aerosol feedbacks. Two particle size distribution parameters, the aerosol extinction coefficient, and the effective radius are retrieved from SCIAMACHY limb observations. The aerosol characteristics show good agreement with independent data sets from balloon-borne and satellite observations. This data set expands the limited knowledge of stratospheric aerosol characteristics.