1NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
2Science Applications International Corporation, Hampton, Virginia, USA
3University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
*now at: Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Hampton, Virginia, USA
Abstract. The use of SAGE III multiwavelength aerosol extinction coefficient measurements to infer PSC type is contingent on the robustness of both the extinction magnitude and its spectral variation. Past validation with SAGE II and other similar measurements has shown that the SAGE III extinction coefficient measurements are reliable though the comparisons have been greatly weighted toward measurements made at mid-latitudes. Some aerosol comparisons made in the Arctic winter as a part of SOLVE II suggested that SAGE III values, particularly at longer wavelengths, are too small with the implication that both the magnitude and the wavelength dependence are not reliable. Comparisons with POAM III have also suggested a similar discrepancy. Herein, we use SAGE II data as a common standard for comparison of SAGE III and POAM III measurements in the Arctic winters of 2002/2003 through 2004/2005. During the winter, SAGE II measurements are made infrequently at the same latitudes as these instruments. We have mitigated this problem through the use of potential vorticity as a spatial coordinate and thus greatly increased of the number of coincident events. We find that SAGE II and III extinction coefficient measurements show a high degree of compatibility at both 1020 nm and 450 nm except a 10–20% bias at both wavelengths. In addition, the 452 to 1020 nm extinction ratio shows a consistent bias of ~30% throughout the lower stratosphere. We also find that SAGE II and POAM III are on average consistent though the comparisons show a much higher variability and larger bias than SAGE II/III comparisons. In addition, we find that SAGE II and POAM III data sets are not well correlated at and below 18 km. Overall, we find both the extinction values and the spectral dependence from SAGE III are robust and we find no evidence of a significant defect within the Arctic vortex.