Characteristics of columnar aerosol optical and microphysical properties retrieved from the sun photometer and its impact on radiative forcing over Skukuza (South Africa) during 1999-2010

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 13
  • Abstract:

    The detailed analysis of columnar optical and microphysical properties of aerosols obtained from the AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) Cimel sun photometer operated at Skukuza (24.98° S, 31.60° E, 150 m above sea level), South Africa was carried out using the level 2.0 direct sun and inversion products measured during 1999–2010. The observed aerosol optical depth (AOD) was generally low over the region, with high values noted in late winter (August) and mid-spring (September and October) seasons. The major aerosol types found during the study period were made of 3.74, 69.63, 9.34, 8.83, and 8.41% for polluted dust (PD), polluted continental (PC), non-absorbing (NA), slightly absorbing (SA), and moderately absorbing (MA) aerosols, respectively. Much attention was given to the aerosol fine- and coarse-modes deduced from the particle volume concentration, effective radius, and fine-mode volume fraction. The aerosol volume size distribution pattern was found to be bimodal with the fine-mode showing predominance relative to coarse-mode during the winter and spring seasons, owing to the onset of the biomass burning season. The mean values of total, fine-, and coarse-mode volume particle concentrations were 0.07 ± 0.04, 0.03 ± 0.03, and 0.04 ± 0.02 μm3 μm−2, respectively, whereas the mean respective effective radii observed at Skukuza for the abovementioned modes were 0.35 ± 0.17, 0.14 ± 0.02, and 2.08 ± 0.02 μm. The averaged shortwave direct aerosol radiative forcing (ARF) observed within the atmosphere was found to be positive (absorption or heating effect), whereas the negative forcing in the surface and TOA depicted significant cooling effect due to more scattering type particles