Aerosol properties and chemical apportionment of aerosol optical depth at locations off the US east coast in July and August 2001

Publication Type

Journal Article




Airborne in situ measurements of vertical profiles of the aerosol light scattering coefficient, light absorption coefficient, and single scattering albedo (ω0) are presented for locations off the East Coast of the United States in July–August 2001. The profiles were obtained in relatively clean air, dominated by airflows that had passed over Canada and the Atlantic Ocean. Comparisons of aerosol optical depths (AODs) at 550 nm derived from airborne in situ and sun-photometer measurements agree, on average, to within 0.034 ± 0.021. A frequency distribution of ω0 measured in the atmospheric boundary layer off the coast yields an average value of ω0 = 0.96 ± 0.03 at 550 nm. Values for the mass scattering efficiencies of sulfate and total carbon (organic and black carbon) derived from a multiple linear regression are 6.0 ± 1.0 m2 (g SO=4)−1 and 2.6 ± 0.9 m2 (g C)−1, respectively. Measurements of sulfate and total carbon mass concentrations are used to estimate the contributions of these two major components of the submicron aerosol to the AOD. Mean percentage contributions to the AOD from sulfate, total carbon, condensed water, and absorbing aerosols are 38% ± 8%, 26% ± 9%, 32% ± 9%, and 4% ± 2%, respectively. The sensitivity of the above results to the assumed values of the hygroscopic growth factors for the particles are examined and it is found that, although the AOD derived from the in situ measurements can vary by as much as 20%, the average value of ω0 is not changed significantly. The results are compared with those obtained in the same region in 1996 under more polluted conditions.


Journal of Atmospheric Sciences - Special Issue



Year of Publication



Research Areas