Stratospheric background aerosol and polar cloud observations by laser backscattersonde within the framework of the European project "Stratospheric Regular Sounding"
Abstract. The Stratospheric Regular Sounding project was planned to measure regularly the vertical profiles of several tracers like ozone, water vapor, NOx, ClOx and BrOx radicals, aerosol, pressure and temperature, at three latitudes, to discriminate between the transport and photochemical terms which control their distribution. As part of this project, the "Istituto di Fisica dell'Atmosfera" launched nine laser backscattersondes (LABS) on board stratospheric balloons to make observations of background aerosol and PSCs. LABS was launched with an optical particle counter operated by the University of Wyoming. Observations have been performed in the arctic, mid-latitudes and tropical regions in different seasons. Polar stratospheric clouds have been observed in areas inside and outside the polar vortex edge. A background aerosol was observed both in mid-latitudes and in arctic regions with a backscattering ratio of 1.2 at 692 nm. Very stratified aerosol layers, possibly transported into the lower stratosphere by deep convective systems, have been observed in the lower stratosphere between 20 and 29 km in the tropics in the Southern Hemisphere.
Key words. Atmospheric composition and structure (aerosols and particles; middle atmosphere – composition and chemistry; instruments and techniques)