Earth System Research Laboratory Long-Term Surface Aerosol Measurements

Metadata Updated: February 27, 2019

Aerosol measurements began at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) Global Monitoring Division (GMD) baseline observatories in the mid-1970's with the purpose of detecting a response, or lack of response, of atmospheric aerosols to changing conditions on a global scale. In 1992 ESRL/GMD expanded its aerosol research program to include regional aerosol monitoring stations due to anthropogenic aerosols creating a significant perturbation in the Earth's radiative balance on regional scales. The goals of this regional-scale monitoring program are to characterize means, variability, and trends of climate-forcing properties of different types of aerosols, and the factors that control them. In situ measurements of aerosol optical properties (including light absorption, total scattering, hemispheric backscattering, and total aerosol number concentration) are made at monitoring sites at hourly time resolution. The basic aerosol measurement system consists of a nephelometer (measures aerosol light scattering), absorption photometer (measures light absorption), and a condensation nuclei counter (measures particle number concentration). Data from the aerosol monitoring stations are updated several times a day. Following collection of the raw data at the station, the data are inspected through automatic and manual contamination screenings to eliminate contamination from local pollution sources. Automatic screenings use measured wind speed, direction, and/or total particle number concentration to flag contaminated data. Manual screening is more subjective, relying on the station scientist to evaluate the data in the context of automated contamination flags and their knowledge of the site.

Data applications indicate the importance of continuing to provide long-term aerosol in-situ measurements for use in analysis of trends and climatologies, evaluation of model simulations of aerosol climatologies, and behavior and validation of remote sensing retrievals of aerosol optical properties. GMD's measurements also provide ground-truth for satellite measurements and global models, as well as key aerosol parameters for global-scale models.

Through the Big Earth Data Initiative (BEDI), ESRL/GMD has taken their data collection and converted files into NetCDF-4, a self-describing format.

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Metadata Date November 5, 2018
Metadata Created Date February 7, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 27, 2019
Reference Date(s) January 1, 1974 (publication)
Frequency Of Update annually

Metadata Source

Harvested from NOAA CSW Harvest Source

Graphic Preview

Long-term trends in aerosol properties (figure from Coen Collaud et al., 2013)

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Date November 5, 2018
Metadata Created Date February 7, 2018
Metadata Updated Date February 27, 2019
Reference Date(s) January 1, 1974 (publication)
Responsible Party DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce (Point of Contact); DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce (Point of Contact)
Contact Email
Access Constraints Cite as: Sheridan, Patrick; Hageman, Derek and NOAA ESRL (2017): Earth System Research Laboratory Long-Term Surface Aerosol Measurements, Version 1. [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). doi:10.7289/V55T3HJF [access date]., The information contained herein is provided as a public service, with the understanding that the NOAA/ESRL Global Monitoring Divison makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information., Distribution liability: NOAA and NCEI make no warranty, expressed or implied, regarding these data, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA and NCEI cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data. If appropriate, NCEI can only certify that the data it distributes are an authentic copy of the records that were accepted for inclusion in the NCEI archives., Use liability: NOAA and NCEI cannot provide any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of furnished data. Users assume responsibility to determine the usability of these data. The user is responsible for the results of any application of this data for other than its intended purpose.
Bbox East Long 180.0
Bbox North Lat 90.0
Bbox South Lat -90.0
Bbox West Long -180.0
Coupled Resource
Frequency Of Update annually
Graphic Preview Description Long-term trends in aerosol properties (figure from Coen Collaud et al., 2013)
Graphic Preview File
Graphic Preview Type JPEG
Guid gov.noaa.ncdc:C01539
Harvest Object Id e7d7c259-c957-4f0a-a84d-8689e38a2039
Harvest Source Id 2aed8e29-fc5b-4cde-aa66-fb1118fd705e
Harvest Source Title NOAA CSW Harvest Source
Metadata Language
Metadata Type geospatial
Progress onGoing
Spatial Data Service Type
Spatial Reference System
Spatial Harvester True
Temporal Extent Begin 1974-01-01

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