Articles | Volume 26, issue 7
21 Jul 2008
 | 21 Jul 2008

Estimation of photolysis frequencies from TOMS satellite measurements and routine meteorological observations

C. Topaloglou, B. Mayer, S. Kazadzis, A. F. Bais, and M. Blumthaler

Abstract. A study on the estimation of J(O1D) and J(NO2) photolysis frequencies when limited ground based measurements (or even no measurements at all), are available is presented in this work. Photolysis frequencies can be directly measured by chemical actinometry and filter radiometry or can be calculated from actinic flux measurements. In several meteorological stations, none of the methods above are applicable due to the absence of sophisticated instruments such as actinometers, radiometers or spectroradiometers. In this case, it is possible to calculate photolysis frequencies with reasonable uncertainty using either a) standard meteorological observations, such as ozone, cloud coverage and horizontal visibility, available in various ground based stations, as input for a radiative transfer model or b) satellite observations of solar global irradiance available worldwide, in combination with an empirical method for the conversion of irradiance in photolysis frequencies. Both methods can provide photolysis frequencies with a standard deviation between 20% and 30%. The absolute level of agreement of the retrieved frequencies to those calculated from actual actinic flux measurements, for data from all meteorological conditions, is within ±5% for J(O1D) and less than 1% for J(NO2) for the first method, while for the second method it rises up to 25% for the case of J(O1D) and 12% for J(NO2), reflecting the overestimation of TOMS satellite irradiance when compared to ground based measurements of irradiance for the respective spectral regions. Due to the universality of the methods they can be practically applied to almost any station, thus overcoming problems concerning the availability of instruments measuring photolysis frequencies.