Aerosol optical characterization by nephelometer and lidar: The Baltimore Supersite experiment during the Canadian forest fire smoke intrusion

Mariana Adam, Markus Pahlow, Vladimir A. Kovalev, John M. Ondov, Marc B. Parlange, Narayanan Nair

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High spatial and temporal resolution elastic backscatter lidar data from Baltimore are analyzed with a near-end approach to estimate vertical profiles of the aerosol extinction coefficient. The near-end approach makes use of the (1) aerosol scattering coefficient measured at the surface with a nephelometer (0.530 μm), (2) surface level particle size distribution, and (3) refractive index calculated using Mie theory to estimate the aerosol extinction coefficient boundary condition for the lidar equation. There was a broad range of atmospheric turbidity due to a strong haze event, which occurred because of smoke transport from Canadian forest fires, and led to a wide range of observed atmospheric properties. The index of refraction for aerosols estimated during the entire study period is 1.5-0.47 i, which is typical for soot. The measured surface level aerosol scattering coefficient ranged from σ p = 0.002 to σp = 0.541 km-1, and the computed aerosol extinction coefficient spanned values κ p = 0.01 to κp = 1.05 km-1. The derived mass concentration and the mass scattering ranges were 3.96-194 μg m-3 and 0.05-3.260 m2g-1 respectively. The aerosol optical properties were dominated by light absorption by soot.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberD16S02
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Extinction
  • Lidar
  • Mass scattering
  • Nephelometer
  • Scattering
  • Supersite

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