On the variability of the Ring effect in the near ultraviolet: understanding the role of aerosols and multiple scattering
1NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory/Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, Colorado
2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory/Global Monitoring Division, Boulder, Colorado
3CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
*now at: Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Research Department Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
Abstract. The "filling-in" (FI) of Fraunhofer lines, often referred to as the Ring effect, was examined using measurements of near ultraviolet sunlight scattered from the zenith sky above Boulder, Colorado during July and August 2005. The FI of the 344.1 nm Fe I line was directly determined by comparing direct sun and cloud-free zenith sky spectra recorded on the same day. The results, obtained over solar zenith angles (SZA) from 20° to 70°, are compared to the predictions of a simple rotational Raman Scattering (RRS) spectral model. The measured FI was found to be up to 70% greater than that predicted by first-order molecular scattering with a much stronger SZA dependence. Simultaneously measured aerosol optical depths and Monte Carlo calculations show that the combination of aerosol scattering and second-order molecular scattering can account for these differences, and potentially explain the contradictory SZA dependences in previously published measurements of FI. These two scattering processes also introduce a wavelength dependence to FI that complicates the fitting of diffuse sunlight observations in differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS). A simple correction to improve DOAS retrievals by removing this wavelength dependence is described.