Abstract

The U.S. Department of Agriculture UV-B Monitoring Program measures ultraviolet light at seven wavelengths from 300 to 368 nm with an ultraviolet multifilter rotating shadow-band radiometer (UV-MFRSR) at 25 sites across the United States, including Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Column ozone has been retrieved under all-sky conditions near Boulder, Colorado (40.177 °N, 105.276 °W), from global irradiances of the UV-MFRSR 332- and 305-nm channels (2 nm FWHM) using lookup tables generated from a multiple-scattering radiative transfer code suitable for solar zenith angles (SZA’s) up to 90°. The most significant sources of error for UV-MFRSR column ozone retrievals at SZA’s less than 75° are the spectral characterizations of the filters and the absolute calibration uncertainty, which together yield an estimated uncertainty in ozone retrievals of ±4.0%. Using model sensitivity studies, we determined that the retrieved column ozone is relatively insensitive (<±2%) to typical variations in aerosol optical depth, cloud cover, surface pressure, stratospheric temperature, and surface albedo. For 5 months in 1996–1997 the mean ratio of column ozone retrieved by the UV-MFRSR divided by that retrieved by the collocated Brewer was 1.024 and for the UV-MFRSR divided by those from a nearby Dobson was 1.025. The accuracy of the retrieval becomes unreliable at large SZA’s of more than 75° as the detection limit of the 305-nm channel is reached and because of overall angular response errors. The UV-MFRSR advantages of relatively low cost, unattended operation, automated calibration stability checks using Langley plots, and minimal maintenance make it a unique instrument for column ozone measurement.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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