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Published October 16, 2004 | Published
Journal Article Open

Environmental snapshots from ACE-Asia


On five occasions spanning the Asian Pacific Regional Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-Asia) field campaign in spring 2001, the Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer spaceborne instrument took data coincident with high-quality observations by instruments on two or more surface and airborne platforms. The cases capture a range of clean, polluted, and dusty aerosol conditions. With a three-stage optical modeling process, we synthesize the data from over 40 field instruments into layer-by-layer environmental snapshots that summarize what we know about the atmospheric and surface states at key locations during each event. We compare related measurements and discuss the implications of apparent discrepancies, at a level of detail appropriate for satellite retrieval algorithm and aerosol transport model validation. Aerosols within a few kilometers of the surface were composed primarily of pollution and Asian dust mixtures, as expected. Medium- and coarse-mode particle size distributions varied little among the events studied; however, column aerosol optical depth changed by more than a factor of 4, and the near-surface proportion of dust ranged between 25% and 50%. The amount of absorbing material in the submicron fraction was highest when near-surface winds crossed Beijing and the Korean Peninsula and was considerably lower for all other cases. Having simultaneous single-scattering albedo measurements at more than one wavelength would significantly reduce the remaining optical model uncertainties. The consistency of component particle microphysical properties among the five events, even in this relatively complex aerosol environment, suggests that global, satellite-derived maps of aerosol optical depth and aerosol mixture (air-mass-type) extent, combined with targeted in situ component microphysical property measurements, can provide a detailed global picture of aerosol behavior.

Additional Information

Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 8 November 2003; revised 11 February 2004; accepted 12 April 2004; published 5 October 2004. We thank our many ACE-Asia colleagues for their support of this effort, including the ACE-Asia project staff, flight teams, ground teams, and funding agencies. The Joint Office of Science Support (JOSS), under the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), provided major logistical support for the U.S. portion of this effort. The work of R. Kahn is supported in part by the Climate and Radiation Research and Analysis Program in the Earth Sciences Division of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, under D. Anderson, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Global Programs under J. Levy, and the NASA EOS-MISR instrument program. His work is performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA. The MISR effort was also assisted by the MISR Team, including David Diner, Barbara Gaitley, Earl Hansen, Duncan McDonald, John Martonchik, and Kyle Miller. This research is a contribution to the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Core Project of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP) and is part of the IGAC Aerosol Characterization Experiments (ACE).

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