Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 983–995, 2008
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 983–995, 2008

  26 Feb 2008

26 Feb 2008

SAGE II measurements of stratospheric aerosol properties at non-volcanic levels

L. W. Thomason1, S. P. Burton2, B.-P. Luo3, and T. Peter3 L. W. Thomason et al.
  • 1NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 2Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 3Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. Since 2000, stratospheric aerosol levels have been relatively stable and at the lowest levels observed in the historical record. Given the challenges of making satellite measurements of aerosol properties at these levels, we have performed a study of the sensitivity of the product to the major components of the processing algorithm used in the production of SAGE II aerosol extinction measurements and the retrieval process that produces the operational surface area density (SAD) product. We find that the aerosol extinction measurements, particularly at 1020 nm, remain robust and reliable at the observed aerosol levels. On the other hand, during background periods, the SAD operational product has an uncertainty of at least a factor of 2 due to the lack of sensitivity to particles with radii less than 100 nm.

Final-revised paper