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Light Absorption of Stratospheric Aerosols: Long-Term Trend and Contribution by AircraftMeasurements of aerosol light-absorption coefficients are useful for studies of radiative transfer and heating rates. Ogren appears to have published the first light- absorption coefficients in the stratosphere in 1981, followed by Clarke in 1983 and Pueschel in 1992. Because most stratospheric soot appears to be due to aircraft operations, application of an aircraft soot aerosol emission index to projected fuel consumption suggests a threefold increase of soot loading and light absorption by 2025. Together, those four data sets indicate an increase in mid-visible light extinction at a rate of 6 % per year. This trend is similar to the increase per year of sulfuric acid aerosol and of commercial fleet size. The proportionality between stepped-up aircraft operations above the tropopause and increases in stratospheric soot and sulfuric acid aerosol implicate aircraft as a source of stratospheric pollution. Because the strongly light-absorbing soot and the predominantly light-scattering sulfuric acid aerosol increase at similar rates, however, the mid-visible stratospheric aerosol single scatter albedo is expected to remain constant and not approach a critical value of 0.98 at which stratospheric cooling could change to warming.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Pueschel , R. F.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Gore, Waren J. Y.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1997
Subject Category
Meeting Information
Meeting: Sixth International Conference on Carbonaceous Particles in the Atmosphere
Location: Vienna
Country: Austria
Start Date: September 22, 1997
End Date: September 24, 1997
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 538-08-12-14
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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