Heterogeneity in pre-monsoon aerosol types over the Arabian Sea deduced from ship-borne measurements of spectral AODs
Ship-borne sunphotometer measurements obtained in the Arabian Sea (AS) in the pre-monsoon season (18 April-10 May 2006) during a cruise campaign (ICARB) have been used to retrieve the Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD; τ) and the Ångström wavelength exponent (α). The continents surrounding the AS produce natural and anthropogenic aerosols that have distinctive influences on α and its spectral distribution. The α values were estimated by means of the least-squares method over the spectral bands 340-1020 nm and 340-870 nm. The spectral distribution of AOD in logarithmic co-ordinates could be fit using a 2nd order polynomial with higher accuracy in the wavelength band 340-1020 nm than in the 340-870 nm band. A polynomial fit analytically parameterizes the observed wavelength dependencies of AOD with least errors in spectral variation of α and yields accurate estimates of the coefficients (α1 and α2). The coarse-mode (positive curvature in the ln λ vs. ln λ) aerosols are mainly depicted in the Northern part of the AS closely associated with the nearby arid areas while fine-mode aerosols are mainly observed over the far and coastal AS regions. In the study period the mean AOD at 500 nm is 0.25±0.11 and the α340-1020 is 0.90±0.19. The α340-870 exhibits similar values (0.92±0.18), while significant differences revealed for the constant terms of the polynomial fit (α1 and α2) proportionally to the wavelength band used for their determination. Observed day-to-day variability in the aerosol load and optical properties are direct consequence of the local winds and air-mass trajectories along with the position of the ship. © Author(s) 2010.