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Aerosol Effects on Radiation and Climate: Column Closure Experiments with Towers, Aircraft, and SatellitesMany theoretical studies have shown that anthropogenic aerosol particles can change the radiation balance in an atmospheric column and might thereby exert a significant effect on the Earth's climate. In particular, recent calculations have shown that sulfate particles from anthropogenic combustion may already exert a cooling influence on the Earth that partially offsets the warming caused by the greenhouse gases from the same combustion. Despite the potential climatic importance of anthropogenic aerosols, simultaneous measurements of anthropogenic aerosol properties and their effect on atmospheric radiation have been very rare. Successful comparisons of measured radiation fields with those calculated from aerosol measurements - now referred to as column closure comparisons - are required to improve the accuracy and credibility of climate predictions. This paper reviews the column closure experiment performed at the Mt. Sutro Tower in San Francisco in 1975, in which elevated radiometers measured the change in Earth-plus-atmosphere albedo caused by an aerosol layer, while a lidar, sunphotometer, nephelometer, and other radiometers measured properties of the responsible aerosol. The time-dependent albedo calculated from the measured aerosol properties agreed with that measured by the tower radiometers. Also presented are designs for future column closure studies using radiometers and aerosol instruments on the ground, aircraft, and satellites. These designs draw upon algorithms and experience developed in the Sutro Tower study, as well as more recent experience with current measurement and analysis capabilities.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Russell, Philip B. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1994
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Meeting Information
Second Aerosol Characterization Experiment Meeting and Closure Workshop(Ispra)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 229-10-32-01
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.