EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A global analysis of climate-relevant aerosol properties retrieved from the network of GAW near-surface observatories

Paolo Laj1,2,3, Clémence Rose4, Alessandro Bigi5, Martine Collaud Coen6, Elisabeth Andrews7, Cathrine Lund Myhre8, Markus Fiebig8, Wenche Aas8, Alfred Wiedensohler9, Michael Schulz10, Augustin Mortier10, Jonas Gliss10, Jean-Philippe Putaud11, Sang-Woo Kim12, Olga Mayol13, Melita Keywood14, Tuukka Petäjä2, Marco Pandolfi15, Lorenzo Labrador16, John Ogren7, and the SARGAN team*
Paolo Laj et al.
  • 1Grenoble Alpes University - CNRS, Institut des Géosciences pour l'Environnement, Saint Martin d'Hères, France (
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council of Italy, Bologna, Italy
  • 4Université Clermont-Auvergne, CNRS, Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Clermont-Ferrand, France
  • 5Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Department of Engineering “Enzo Ferrari”, Modena, Italy
  • 6Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, MeteoSwiss, Payerne, Switzerland
  • 7NOAA/Earth Systems Research Laboratory Boulder, CO, USA
  • 8NILU, Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
  • 9Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 10Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
  • 11European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
  • 12School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
  • 13University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 14CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, PMB1 Aspendale VIC, Australia
  • 15Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), Spanish Research Council (CSIC), Barcelona, Spain
  • 16World Meteorological Organisation, Global Atmosphere Watch Secretariat, Geneva, Switzerland
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

Aerosol particles are essential constituents of the Earth’s atmosphere, impacting the earth radiation balance directly by scattering and absorbing solar radiation, and indirectly by acting as cloud condensation nuclei. In contrast to most greenhouse gases, aerosol particles have short atmospheric residence time resulting in a highly heterogeneous distribution in space and time. There is a clear need to document this variability at regional scale through observations involving, in particular, the in-situ near-surface segment of the atmospheric observations system. This paper will provide the widest effort so far to document variability of climate-relevant in-situ aerosol properties (namely wavelength dependent particle light scattering and absorption coefficients, particle number concentration and particle number size distribution) from all sites connected to the Global Atmosphere Watch network. High quality data from more than 90 stations worldwide have been collected and controlled for quality and are reported for a reference year in 2017, providing a very extended and robust view of the variability of these variables worldwide. The range of variability observed worldwide for light scattering and absorption coefficients, single scattering albedo and particle number concentration are presented together with preliminary information on their long-term trends and comparison with model simulation for the different stations. The scope of the present paper is also to provide the necessary suite of information including data provision procedures, quality control and analysis, data policy and usage of the ground-based aerosol measurements network. It delivers to users of the World Data Centre on Aerosol, the required confidence in data products in the form of a fully-characterized value chain, including uncertainty estimation and requirements for contributing to the global climate monitoring system.

SARGAN team:

All station PIs contributing to data provision

How to cite: Laj, P., Rose, C., Bigi, A., Collaud Coen, M., Andrews, E., Lund Myhre, C., Fiebig, M., Aas, W., Wiedensohler, A., Schulz, M., Mortier, A., Gliss, J., Putaud, J.-P., Kim, S.-W., Mayol, O., Keywood, M., Petäjä, T., Pandolfi, M., Labrador, L., and Ogren, J. and the SARGAN team: A global analysis of climate-relevant aerosol properties retrieved from the network of GAW near-surface observatories, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2147,, 2020.


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