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Atmospheric response to the 20 March 2015 solar eclipse along the whole aerosol column by lidar measurements

Perrone, M.R., Romano, S.
Atmospheric research 2019 v.217 pp. 172-183
aerosols, kinetic energy, lidar, sensible heat flux, solar radiation, standard deviation, temperature, troposphere, turbulent flow, uncertainty, variance, wavelengths, wind speed, Italy
Lidar measurements at 355, 532, and 1064 nm have been performed at Lecce (40.3°N, 18.1°E), in south-eastern Italy, to investigate for the first time the impact of the 20 March 2015 solar eclipse on both the planetary boundary layer (PBL) height and the aerosol optical and microphysical properties along the whole aerosol column. The partial solar eclipse lasted from 08:30 up to 10:47 UTC and reached the full phase at 09:37 UTC. The maximum percentage obscuration of the solar disk was 43.6%. The eclipse cooling effect was responsible at the full phase time (tF) for the downward solar irradiance decrease at the top of the atmosphere, at the surface, and within the atmosphere of 429.2 ± 0.6, 373 ± 25, and 56 ± 26 W m−2, respectively. The turbulent kinetic energy, the potential temperature flux, the sensible heat flux, the variance of air temperature, and the vertical wind speed at the surface revealed that the turbulence activity reached the maximum weakening at the time tF. The standard deviation (SD) technique has been applied to both the lidar range corrected signals (RCS) at 1064 nm and the linear volume depolarization ratio (δV) profiles at 355 nm to determine the time evolution of the shallow PBL height and the aloft aerosol layers. The SD technique applied to RCS and δV profiles revealed similar results within experimental uncertainties. The PBL height, which was equal to 380 ± 40 m above ground level (AGL) at the eclipse full phase (09:37 UTC), decreased up to 220 ± 20 m at 09:45 UTC because of the eclipse cooling effect and, then, increased up to 320 ± 30 m at 10:17 UTC. The determined PBL height time evolution was in good agreement with the ones of the main turbulence parameters at the surface after tF. The vertical profiles of the aerosol backscatter coefficient (ββ), the δV at 355 nm, and the extinction-related Ångström exponent (Å), calculated at the 355–1064 nm wavelength pair revealed a marked decrease of β, δV, and Å at the eclipse full phase within the aloft aerosol layers. The abrupt β, δV, and Å decrease due to the aerosol concentration and type changes has mainly been associated with the decrease of the fine-mode particle contribution.