1Atmospheric Research Team, Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, Lofos Nymphon, P. O. Box 20048, 11810 Athens, Greece
2Physical Meteorology and Aerology Div., Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pashan, Pune 411008, India
3Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum 695022, India
4Department of Geology and Geoenvironment, University of Athens, University campus 15784 Athens, Greece
Abstract. Ship-borne sunphotometer measurements obtained in the Arabian Sea (AS) in the pre-monsoon season (18 April–10 May 2006) during a cruise campaign (ICARB) have been used to retrieve the Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD; τ) and the Ångström wavelength exponent (α). The continents surrounding the AS produce natural and anthropogenic aerosols that have distinctive influences on α and its spectral distribution. The α values were estimated by means of the least-squares method over the spectral bands 340–1020 nm and 340–870 nm. The spectral distribution of AOD in logarithmic co-ordinates could be fit using a 2nd order polynomial with higher accuracy in the wavelength band 340–1020 nm than in the 340–870 nm band. A polynomial fit analytically parameterizes the observed wavelength dependencies of AOD with least errors in spectral variation of α and yields accurate estimates of the coefficients (a1 and a2). The coarse-mode (positive curvature in the lnτλ vs. lnλ) aerosols are mainly depicted in the Northern part of the AS closely associated with the nearby arid areas while fine-mode aerosols are mainly observed over the far and coastal AS regions. In the study period the mean AOD at 500 nm is 0.25±0.11 and the α340-1020 is 0.90±0.19. The α340-870 exhibits similar values (0.92±0.18), while significant differences revealed for the constant terms of the polynomial fit (a1 and a2) proportionally to the wavelength band used for their determination. Observed day-to-day variability in the aerosol load and optical properties are direct consequence of the local winds and air-mass trajectories along with the position of the ship.