Articles | Volume 21, issue 3
31 Mar 2003
 | 31 Mar 2003

A new regularized inversion method for the retrieval of stratospheric aerosol size distributions applied to 16 years of SAGE II data (1984–2000): method, results and validation

C. Bingen, F. Vanhellemont, and D. Fussen

Abstract. We apply a regularization method for the optical inversion of SAGE II aerosol extinction profiles and derive the particle number density N, the mode radius r and width s of an effective lognormal aerosol size distribution. The constraint applied to the inversion scheme allows us to appreciably enhance the stability of the solution. Therefore, because of the disposal of a more stable inversion scheme and of the wide extend of SAGE II data in time and space, we were able to improve the estimation of the aerosol parameter profiles with respect to previous published retrievals and, hence, our knowledge of the aerosol distribution characteristics in space and time. After presenting the inversion method and retrieved profiles concerning the particle number density profile over the time period 1984–2000, we validate our results by means of data derived from both in situ and remote spectral measurements. We also discuss the limits of the comparison between the various types of measurements due to their respective particularities. The validation gives a satisfying agreement with other data sources for N and r as long as the mode radius is not too small compared to the shortest SAGE II wavelength, whereas s appears to be less easily retrieved with a good accuracy.

Key words. Atmospheric composition and structure (aerosols and particles; middle atmosphere – composition and chemistry; volcanic effects)