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Evaluation of retrieved aerosol extinction profiles using as reference the aerosol optical depth differences between various heights

Herreras, M., Román, R., Cazorla, A., Toledano, C., Lyamani, H., Torres, B., Cachorro, V.E., Olmo, F.J., Alados-Arboledas, L., de Frutos, A.M.
Atmospheric research 2019 v.230 pp. 104625
aerosols, altitude, governmental programs and projects, photometers, robots, standard deviation, uncertainty, wavelengths, Spain
Aerosol extinction vertical profiles at Granada (Spain) are calculated with the GRASP (Generalized Retrieval of Aerosol and Surface Properties) code using as input Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) and sky radiance measurements from AERONET (AEerosol RObotic NETwork) and ceilometer RCS (Range Corrected Signal) profiles, both corresponding to the Granada (Spain) station. This methodology is so called GRASPpac due to the combination of sun/sky photometer and ceilometer on GRASP. In order to evaluate the accuracy of these retrieved extinction profiles at Granada, two more nearby AERONET stations, located at different altitudes, are used. The AOD difference of the three choosen AERONET sun/sky photometers have been used to calculate the Integrated Aerosol Extinction (IAE) at different height layers. These three AERONET sun/sky photometers are used as a reference and compared against the integrated extinction at the same layers from the extinction profiles retrieved by GRASPpac. The differences between AERONET and GRASPpac retrieved IAE values indicate that GRASPpac aerosol extinction profiles are at least within the uncertainty of the sun/sky photometer measurements, but GRASPpac method overestimates the AERONET extinction at low altitudes and underestimates it at high levels. The most accurate and precise retrieved extinction correspond to the intermediate layer with a mean bias error (MBE ± standard deviation) of 0.00 ± 0.01 (0 ± 59%) for 1020 nm, and the worst integrated extinction results were obtained for the upper layers with a MBE of −0.01 ± 0.02 (28 ± 36%) for 1020 nm. In general these MBE values increases for shorter wavelengths. In order to obtain a complete characterization of this bias, the dependence of the obtained differences on the aerosol size and the solar zenith angle, among others, are analysed in detail. Finally, the behaviour of vertically-resolved aerosol extinction at Granada is evaluated using averages of the retrieved profiles from November of 2012 to December of 2017. The highest IAE values are found in Summer with mean values of 0.09 for the lower layers and 0.07 for the upper ones, both at 440 nm wavelength.