SAGE II measurements of stratospheric aerosol properties at non-volcanic levels L. W. Thomason1, S. P. Burton2, B.-P. Luo3, and T. Peter3 1NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA 2Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Hampton, Virginia, USA 3Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Abstract. Since 2000, stratospheric aerosol levels have been relatively stable and at
the lowest levels observed in the historical record. Given the challenges of
making satellite measurements of aerosol properties at these levels, we have
performed a study of the sensitivity of the product to the major components
of the processing algorithm used in the production of SAGE II aerosol
extinction measurements and the retrieval process that produces the
operational surface area density (SAD) product. We find that the aerosol
extinction measurements, particularly at 1020 nm, remain robust and reliable
at the observed aerosol levels. On the other hand, during background
periods, the SAD operational product has an uncertainty of at least a factor
of 2 due to the lack of sensitivity to particles with radii less than 100 nm.
Citation: Thomason, L. W., Burton, S. P., Luo, B.-P., and Peter, T.: SAGE II measurements of stratospheric aerosol properties at non-volcanic levels, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 983-995, doi:10.5194/acp-8-983-2008, 2008.