Abstract

Aerosol optical properties have been measured on the island of Lampedusa (35.5°N, 12.6°E) with seven-band multifilter rotating shadowband radiometers (MFRSRs) and a CE 318 Cimel sunphotometer (part of the AERONET network) since 1999. Four different MFRSRs have operated since 1999. The Cimel sunphotometer has been operational for a short period in 2000 and in 2003–2006 and 2010–present. Simultaneous determinations of the aerosol optical depth (AOD) from the two instruments were compared over a period of almost 4 years at several wavelengths between 415 and 870 nm. This is the first long-term comparison at a site strongly influenced by desert dust and marine aerosols and characterized by frequent cases of elevated AOD. The datasets show a good agreement, with MFRSR underestimating the Cimel AOD in cases with low Ångström exponent; the underestimate decreases for increasing wavelength and increases with AOD. This underestimate is attributed to the effect of aerosol forward scattering on the relatively wide field of view of the MFRSR. An empirical correction of the MFRSR data was implemented. After correction, the mean bias (MB) between MFRSR and Cimel simultaneous AOD determinations is always smaller than 0.004, and the root mean square difference is 0.031 at all wavelengths. The MB between MFRSR and Cimel monthly averages (for months with at least 20 days with AOD determinations) is 0.0052. Thus, by combining the MFRSR and Cimel observations, an integrated long-term series is obtained, covering the period 1999–present, with almost continuous measurements since early 2002. The long-term data show a small (nonstatistically significant) decreasing trend over the period 2002–2013, in agreement with independent observations in the Mediterranean. The integrated Lampedusa dataset will be used for aerosol climatological studies and for verification of satellite observations and model analyses.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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