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An Optical Backscattersonde for Balloon Aerological Measurements

Abstract

The operation principle of an optical aerosol sonde is based on detection of radiation scattered in a free atmosphere from a sequence of light probing pulses emitted by LEDs at two wavelengths, 470 and 940 nm. Like in a lidar, echo signals are synchronously accumulated simultaneously with probing pulses. Unlike in a lidar, the recorded signal is formed by the lens system of photodetectors due to radiation scattering in a light-scattering volume of ~0.1 m3 located at short distances of ~0.2–5 m from the source. The scattered radiation entering the photodetector is not strictly backward (by 180°) as in a lidar, since the characteristic scattering angles are ~170°–180°. For a more rigorous modeling of the sonde measurement processes, with allowance for possible scattering angles, a measurement model was developed and applied based on the Monte Carlo method. To increase the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), the optical axes of the photodetector and emitters are located at an angle of 5°, which, when using synchronous signal detection, allows one to obtain an SNR value of at least 50 at an altitude of 30 km. The probe can be easily integrated with all types of standard aerological radiosondes and, having its own navigation module and telemetry system, can also be used in autonomous flights. The all-weather aerosol backscattersonde can be used at night time for studying and monitoring polar stratospheric clouds, tropospheric and stratospheric aerosol, cirrus clouds, pyroconvection, volcanic aerosol, as well as for verifying remote methods and means of ground- and satellite-based aerosol observations. The use of the two-wave measurement technique makes it possible to reliably diagnose changes in the aerosol composition with height by the color index. In some cases, the type of aerosol is also identified. The data of probe measurements in March 2021 over Salekhard, when the temperatures of air masses inside the polar stratospheric cyclone were slightly higher than the threshold values for the formation of type I polar stratospheric clouds, are presented. Calculations of the color index indicate the dominance of sulfuric-acid aerosol at heights of 10–15 km, as well as the fact that the aerosol composition definitely changes as the height decreases, apparently due to the addition of soot particles.

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Correspondence to V. A. Yushkov.

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Translated by A. Nikol’skii

This paper was prepared based on an oral report presented at the All-Russian Conference “Intrinsic Radiation, Structure, and Dynamics of the Middle and Upper Atmosphere” (Moscow, November 22–23, 2021).

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Balugin, N., Fomin, B. & Yushkov, V. An Optical Backscattersonde for Balloon Aerological Measurements. Izv. Atmos. Ocean. Phys. 58, 314–320 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0001433822030021

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1134/S0001433822030021

Keywords:

  • aerosol
  • backscattering
  • tropospheric aerosol
  • stratospheric aerosol
  • balloon sounding
  • optical parameters