Earth System Research Laboratory Long-Term Surface Aerosol Measurements

ESRL Aerosol Measurements

browse graphicLong-term trends in aerosol properties (figure from Coen Collaud et al., 2013)
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.
  • Cite this dataset when used as a source: 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].
Search Data
  • ESRL/GMD FTP Data Finder (search)
    Use this web page to find specific data files available from the public ftp file archive of the ESRL Global Monitoring Division.
Download Data
Distribution Formats
  • netCDF (Version: 4)
  • netCDF-4 (Version: 4)
Distributor Customer Engagement Branch
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
1-828-271-4800
ncei.orders@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact Sheridan, Patrick
Physical Scientist
DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
+1 303-497-6672
esrl.gmd.aero@noaa.goV
Dataset Point of Contact Customer Engagement Branch
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
1-828-271-4800
ncei.orders@noaa.gov
Time Period 1974-01-01 to Present (time interval: 1-hour)
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 90.0
S: -90.0
E: 180.0
W: -180.0
Spatial Coverage Map
General Documentation
Associated Resources
Publication Dates
  • publication: 1974-01-01
Edition Version 1
Data Presentation Form Digital profile - vertical cross-section in digital form
Dataset Progress Status Ongoing - data is continually being updated
Data Update Frequency Annually
Purpose Science organizations, climate researchers, GCM and CTM modelers looking to reproduce in situ observations will be the intended users of this data.
Dataset Citation
  • Cite this dataset when used as a source: 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].
Cited Authors
  • Sheridan, Patrick
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Hageman, Derek
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Originators
  • Sheridan, Patrick
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Hageman, Derek
    DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Publishers
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Theme keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Aerosols
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Aerosols > Aerosol Backscatter
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Aerosols > Aerosol Forward Scatter
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Aerosols > Aerosol Particle Properties
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Aerosols > Aerosol Light Scattering Coefficient
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Aerosols > Aerosol Light Absorption Coefficient
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Aerosols > Aerosol Number Concentration
Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Essential Climate Variables (ECVs)
  • Atmospheric - Composition - Aerosol Properties
Data Center keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Platform keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Platform Keywords
  • AIR MONITORING STATIONS/NETWORKS
  • ESRL STATIONS > NOAA Earth Science Research Laboratory Stations
Instrument keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Instrument Keywords
  • NEPHELOMETERS
  • AEROSOL MONITOR
  • CNC > Condensation Nuclei Counter
  • LIGHT ABSORPTION PHOTOMETER
Place keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Illinois
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Alaska
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > Hawaii
  • Ocean > Pacific Ocean > Central Pacific Ocean > American Samoa
  • Continent > Antarctica
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America > California
Project keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Project Keywords
  • ESRL > Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA)
Data Resolution keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Horizontal Data Resolution Keywords
  • Point Resolution
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Vertical Data Resolution Keywords
  • Point Resolution
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Temporal Data Resolution Keywords
  • Hourly - < Daily
Stratum keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • Vertical Location > Land Surface
Use Constraints
  • Cite this dataset when used as a source: 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.
  • 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.
Access Constraints
  • 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.
Fees
  • In most cases, electronic downloads of the data are free, however fees may apply for data certifications, copies of analog materials, and data distribution on physical media.
Lineage information for: dataset
Lineage Statement Raw data are transferred from station computers to a central server, where station mentors perform quality assurance checks on the data. Known corrections to the data are applied, and final averages are calculated. Data are then archived at NCEI.
Processor
  • DOC/NOAA/ESRL/GMD > Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Processing Steps
  • Quality assurance checks on the raw data.
Processing Environment The processing environment is a custom software suite on a Linux platform.
Source Datasets
  • GMD Observatory Operations (OBOP)
    • GMD Observatory Operations (OBOP)
      NOAA/ESRL/GMD operates atmospheric baseline observatories where numerous insitu, remote atmospheric, and solar measurements are conducted. Stations were established to sample remote, "pure" air.
    • Description of Source: Global Monitoring Division Baseline Observatories and Regional Stations
    • Temporal extent used: 1974-01-01 to Present
    • Spatial extent used: N:90.0 S:-90.0 E:180.0 W:-180.0
Lineage information for: repository
Processing Steps
  • 2015-04-22T00:00:00 - NOAA created the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) by merging NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), and National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), including the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), per the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235. NCEI launched publicly on April 22, 2015.
Last Modified: 2018-05-25
For questions about the information on this page, please email: ncei.orders@noaa.gov