A measurement campaign was organized in March 1999 in the Bavarian Alps as part of the European project, Characteristics of the UV Radiation Field in the Alps (CUVRA), to analyze the effect of altitude, aerosols, and snow cover on ground-level UV spectral irradiance. We present the results of simultaneous measurements of aerosol optical depth (AOD) made at various sites on two cloudless days in March 1999. The two days exhibited different aerosol conditions. Results derived from spectral measurements of UV irradiance are compared with data from filter radiometer measurements made at discrete wavelengths extending from the UV to the near IR. The different methods generated values for the AOD that were in good agreement. This result confirms that one can use either method to retrieve the AOD with an uncertainty of approximately 0.03–0.05. On 18 March, high turbidity was observed at low altitude (400-nm AOD ∼0.5 at 700 m above sea level), and the AOD decreased regularly with altitude; on 24 March, the turbidity was much less (0.11 at 700 m above sea level). On both days very low AODs (0.05–0.09) were measured at 3000 m above sea level. The spectral dependence of the AOD is often parameterized by the angstrom relationship; the α parameter is generally difficult or impossible to retrieve from spectral measurements because of the relatively narrow wavelength range (320–400 nm), and only one of the spectroradiometers used during the campaign permits this retrieval. In most cases, during this field campaign, α was found by filter sunphotometers to be 1.1–1.5.
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