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Climatology of Aerosol Optical Properties in Southern AfricaA thorough regionally dependent understanding of optical properties of aerosols and their spatial and temporal distribution is required before we can accurately evaluate aerosol effects in the climate system. Long term measurements of aerosol optical depth, Angstrom exponent and retrieved single scattering albedo and size distribution, were analyzed and compiled into an aerosol optical properties climatology for southern Africa. Monitoring of aerosol parameters have been made by the AERONET program since the middle of the last decade in southern Africa. This valuable information provided an opportunity for understanding how aerosols of different types influence the regional radiation budget. Two long term sites, Mongu in Zambia and Skukuza in South Africa formed the core sources of data in this study. Results show that seasonal variation of aerosol optical thicknesses at 500 nm in southern Africa are characterized by low seasonal multi-month mean values (0.11 to 0.17) from December to May, medium values (0.20 to 0.27) between June and August, and high to very high values (0.30 to 0.46) during September to November. The spatial distribution of aerosol loadings shows that the north has high magnitudes than the south in the biomass burning season and the opposite in none biomass burning season. From the present aerosol data, no long term discernable trends are observable in aerosol concentrations in this region. This study also reveals that biomass burning aerosols contribute the bulk of the aerosol loading in August-October. Therefore if biomass burning could be controlled, southern Africa will experience a significant reduction in total atmospheric aerosol loading. In addition to that, aerosol volume size distribution is characterized by low concentrations in the non biomass burning period and well balanced particle size contributions of both coarse and fine modes. In contrast high concentrations are characteristic of biomass burning period, combined with significant dominance of fine mode particles.
Document ID
20120016462
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Queface, Antonio J. (Witwatersrand Univ. Johannesburg, South Africa)
Piketh, Stuart J. (Witwatersrand Univ. Johannesburg, South Africa)
Eck, Thomas F. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Tsay, Si-Chee (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 2011
Publication Information
Publication: Atmospheric Environment
Volume: 46
Issue: 17
Subject Category
Meteorology and Climatology
Report/Patent Number
GSFC.ABS.7301.2012
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other