Aerosol microphysical and optical properties were measured on board the CIRPAS (Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Studies) Twin Otter aircraft during 16 flights at the Southern Great Plain (SGP) site in north central Oklahoma as part of the Aerosol Intensive Operation period in May 2003. Within well-mixed boundary layers on four cloudy days, vertical profiles measured on board the Twin Otter show that dry aerosol size, volume concentration, and scattering coefficients all increased with increasing altitude, whereas the total number concentration remained essentially constant. A one-dimensional model, which uses simultaneous meteorological measurements as inputs, shows that the observed increase in aerosol volume concentration with increasing altitude is consistent with in-cloud sulfate production at the top of the boundary layer. The sulfate production rate was sufficiently fast to overcome the homogenization resulting from turbulent mixing. In contrast, on cloud-free days, measurements on a second aircraft show nearly uniform aerosol volume concentrations within well-mixed boundary layers. The observed vertical gradients in aerosol volume concentration suggest that even within well-mixed boundary layers, surface measurements may not be representative of aerosols properties (e.g., loading and scattering coefficients, etc.) at elevated altitudes, especially when SO2 concentration and cloud coverage are high.
This page was last updated 2007-11-21.
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