Overview of the SLOPE I and II campaigns: aerosol properties retrieved with lidar and sun–sky photometer measurements

Benavent-Oltra J.A., Casquero-Vera J.A., Román R., Lyamani H., Pérez-Ramírez D., Granados-Muñoz M.J., Herrera M., Cazorla A., Titos G., Ortiz-Amezcua P., Bedoya-Velásquez A.E., de Arruda Moreira G., Pérez N., Alastuey A., Dubovik O., Guerrero-Rascado J.L., Olmo-Reyes F.J. and Alados-Arboledas L.

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

21(12), 2021, 9269-9287, 10.5194/acp-21-9269-2021

The Sierra Nevada Lidar aerOsol Profiling Experiment I and II (SLOPE I and II) campaigns were intended to determine the vertical structure of aerosols by remote sensing instruments and test the various retrieval schemes for obtaining aerosol microphysical and optical properties with in situ measurements. The SLOPE I and II campaigns were developed during the summers of 2016 and 2017, respectively, combining active and passive remote sensing with in situ measurements at stations belonging to the AGORA observatory (Andalusian Global ObseRvatory of the Atmosphere) in the Granada area (Spain). In this work, we use the in situ measurements of these campaigns to evaluate aerosol properties retrieved by the GRASP code (Generalized Retrieval of Atmosphere and Surface Properties) combining lidar and sun–sky photometer measurements. We show an overview of aerosol properties retrieved by GRASP during the SLOPE I and II campaigns. In addition, we evaluate the GRASP retrievals of total aerosol volume concentration (discerning between fine and coarse modes), extinction and scattering coefficients, and for the first time we present an evaluation of the absorption coefficient.

The statistical analysis of aerosol optical and microphysical properties, both column-integrated and vertically resolved, from May to July 2016 and 2017 shows a large variability in aerosol load and types. The results show a strong predominance of desert dust particles due to North African intrusions. The vertically resolved analysis denotes a decay of the atmospheric aerosols with an altitude up to 5 km a.s.l. Finally, desert dust and biomass burning events were chosen to show the high potential of GRASP to retrieve vertical profiles of aerosol properties (e.g. absorption coefficient and single scattering albedo) for different aerosol types. The aerosol properties retrieved by GRASP show good agreement with simultaneous in situ measurements (nephelometer, aethalometer, scanning mobility particle sizer, and aerodynamic particle sizer) performed at the Sierra Nevada Station (SNS) in Granada. In general, GRASP overestimates the in situ data at the SNS with a mean difference lower than 6 µm3 cm−3 for volume concentration, and 11 and 2 Mm−1 for the scattering and absorption coefficients. On the other hand, the comparison of GRASP with airborne measurements also shows an overestimation with mean absolute differences of 14 ± 10 and 1.2 ± 1.2 Mm−1 for the scattering and absorption coefficients, showing a better agreement for the absorption (scattering) coefficient with higher (lower) aerosol optical depth. The potential of GRASP shown in this study will contribute to enhancing the representativeness of the aerosol vertical distribution and provide information for satellite and global model evaluation.