Toward a combined SAGE II-HALOE aerosol climatology: an evaluation of HALOE version 19 stratospheric aerosol extinction coefficient observations
- NASA Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 475, Hampton, VA 23681, USA
Abstract. Herein, the Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) aerosol extinction coefficient data is evaluated in the low aerosol loading period after 1996 as the first necessary step in a process that will eventually allow the production of a combined HALOE/SAGE II (Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment) aerosol climatology of derived aerosol products including surface area density. Based on these analyses, it is demonstrated that HALOE's 3.46 μm is of good quality above 19 km and suitable for scientific applications above that altitude. However, it is increasingly suspect at lower altitudes and should not be used below 17 km under any circumstances after 1996. The 3.40 μm is biased by about 10% throughout the lower stratosphere due to the failure to clear NO2 but otherwise appears to be a high quality product down to 15 km. The 2.45 and 5.26 μm aerosol extinction coefficient measurements are clearly biased and should not be used for scientific applications after the most intense parts of the Pinatubo period. Many of the issues in the aerosol data appear to be related to either the failure to clear some interfering gas species or doing so poorly. For instance, it is clear that the 3.40 μm aerosol extinction coefficient measurements can be improved through the inclusion of an NO2 correction and could, in fact, end up as the highest quality overall HALOE aerosol extinction coefficient measurement. It also appears that the 2.45 and 5.26 μm channels may be improved by updating the Upper Atmosphere Pilot Database which is used as a resource for the removal of gas species otherwise not available from direct HALOE measurements. Finally, a simple model to demonstrate the promise of mixed visible/infrared aerosol extinction coefficient ensembles for the retrieval of bulk aerosol properties demonstrates that a combined HALOE/SAGE II aerosol climatology is feasible and may represent a substantial improvement over independently derived data sets.