Radiative Properties of the Background Aerosol: Absorption Component of Extinction

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Science  19 Jul 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4710, pp. 263-265
DOI: 10.1126/science.229.4710.263


The light-scattering and light-absorption coefficients of the global background aerosol define its single-scatter albedo. Continuous, simultaneous measurements of these optical coefficients were made on a daily basis for the remote marine mid-troposphere; such measurements are essential for assessment of the effects of aerosol on atmospheric radiative transfer. Measurements of light-absorption coefficients made at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii were higher than expected, and the single-scatter albedo was lower than the value often used in radiative transfer models. Soot appears to be the most likely primary absorber, and hemispheric dispersal of this combustion-derived material is suggested.