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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 (<i>a</i><sub>1</sub> and <i>a</i><sub>2</sub>). The coarse-mode (positive curvature in the lnτ<sub>λ</sub> 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 α<sub>340-1020</sub> is 0.90±0.19. The α<sub>340-870</sub> exhibits similar values (0.92±0.18), while significant differences revealed for the constant terms of the polynomial fit (<i>a</i><sub>1</sub> and <i>a</i><sub>2</sub>) 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.