Helicopter-borne observations of the continental background aerosol in combination with remote sensing and ground-based measurements
Abstract. This paper examines the representativeness of ground-based in situ measurements for the planetary boundary layer (PBL) and conducts a closure study between airborne in situ and ground-based lidar measurements up to an altitude of 2300 m. The related measurements were carried out in a field campaign within the framework of the High-Definition Clouds and Precipitation for Advancing Climate Prediction (HD(CP)2) Observational Prototype Experiment (HOPE) in September 2013 in a rural background area of central Europe.
The helicopter-borne probe ACTOS (Airborne Cloud and Turbulence Observation System) provided measurements of the aerosol particle number size distribution (PNSD), the aerosol particle number concentration (PNC), the number concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN-NC), and meteorological atmospheric parameters (e.g., temperature and relative humidity). These measurements were supported by the ground-based 3+2 wavelength polarization lidar system PollyXT, which provided profiles of the particle backscatter coefficient (σbsc) for three wavelengths (355, 532, and 1064 nm). Particle extinction coefficient (σext) profiles were obtained by using a fixed backscatter-to-extinction ratio (also lidar ratio, LR). A new approach was used to determine profiles of CCN-NC for continental aerosol. The results of this new approach were consistent with the airborne in situ measurements within the uncertainties.
In terms of representativeness, the PNSD measurements on the ground showed a good agreement with the measurements provided with ACTOS for lower altitudes. The ground-based measurements of PNC and CCN-NC are representative of the PBL when the PBL is well mixed. Locally isolated new particle formation events on the ground or at the top of the PBL led to vertical variability in the cases presented here and ground-based measurements are not entirely representative of the PBL.
Based on Mie theory (Mie, 1908), optical aerosol properties under ambient conditions for different altitudes were determined using the airborne in situ measurements and were compared with the lidar measurements. The investigation of the optical properties shows that on average the airborne-based particle light backscatter coefficient is 50.1 % smaller for 1064 nm, 27.4 % smaller for 532 nm, and 29.5 % smaller for 355 nm than the measurements of the lidar system. These results are quite promising, since in situ measurement-based Mie calculations of the particle light backscattering are scarce and the modeling is quite challenging. In contrast, for the particle light extinction coefficient we found a good agreement. The airborne-based particle light extinction coefficient was just 8.2 % larger for 532 nm and 3 % smaller for 355 nm, for an assumed LR of 55 sr. The particle light extinction coefficient for 1064 nm was derived with a LR of 30 sr. For this wavelength, the airborne-based particle light extinction coefficient is 5.2 % smaller than the lidar measurements. For the first time, the lidar ratio of 30 sr for 1064 nm was determined on the basis of in situ measurements and the LR of 55 sr for 355 and 532 nm wavelength was reproduced for European continental aerosol on the basis of this comparison. Lidar observations and the in situ based aerosol optical properties agree within the uncertainties. However, our observations indicate that a determination of the PNSD for a large size range is important for a reliable modeling of aerosol particle backscattering.