Articles | Volume 15, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 4131–4144, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-4131-2015
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 4131–4144, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-4131-2015

Research article 21 Apr 2015

Research article | 21 Apr 2015

Analysis of actinic flux profiles measured from an ozonesonde balloon

P. Wang, M. Allaart, W. H. Knap, and P. Stammes P. Wang et al.
  • Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, the Netherlands

Abstract. A green light sensor has been developed at KNMI to measure actinic flux profiles using an ozonesonde balloon. In total, 63 launches with ascending and descending profiles were performed between 2006 and 2010. The measured uncalibrated actinic flux profiles are analysed using the Doubling–Adding KNMI (DAK) radiative transfer model. Values of the cloud optical thickness (COT) along the flight track were taken from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) Cloud Physical Properties (CPP) product. The impact of clouds on the actinic flux profile is evaluated on the basis of the cloud modification factor (CMF) at the cloud top and cloud base, which is the ratio between the actinic fluxes for cloudy and clear-sky scenes. The impact of clouds on the actinic flux is clearly detected: the largest enhancement occurs at the cloud top due to multiple scattering. The actinic flux decreases almost linearly from cloud top to cloud base. Above the cloud top the actinic flux also increases compared to clear-sky scenes. We find that clouds can increase the actinic flux to 2.3 times the clear-sky value at cloud top and decrease it to about 0.05 at cloud base. The relationship between CMF and COT agrees well with DAK simulations, except for a few outliers. Good agreement is found between the DAK-simulated actinic flux profiles and the observations for single-layer clouds in fully overcast scenes. The instrument is suitable for operational balloon measurements because of its simplicity and low cost. It is worth further developing the instrument and launching it together with atmospheric chemistry composition sensors.

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Short summary
A green light sensor has been developed at KNMI to measure actinic flux profiles together with an ozonesonde. The impact of clouds on the actinic flux is clearly detected. Good agreement is found between the DAK-simulated actinic flux profiles and the observations for single-layer clouds in fully overcast scenes. The instrument is suitable for operational balloon measurements because of its simplicity and low cost.
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