Proestakis, E., Amiridis, V., Marinou, E., Binietoglou, I., Ansmann, A., Wandinger, U., Hofer, J., Yorks, J., Nowottnick, E., Makhmudov, A., Papayannis, A., Pietruczuk, A., Gialitaki, A., Apituley, A., Szkop, A., Muñoz Porcar, C., Bortoli, D., Dionisi, D., Althausen, D., Mamali, D., Balis, D., Nicolae, D., Tetoni, E., Liberti, G. L., Baars, H., Mattis, I., Stachlewska, I. S., Voudouri, K. A., Mona, L., Mylonaki, M., Perrone, M. R., Costa, M. J., Sicard, M., Papagiannopoulos, N., Siomos, N., Burlizzi, P., Pauly, R., Engelmann, R., Abdullaev, S., and Pappalardo, G.: EARLINET evaluation of the CATS Level 2 aerosol backscatter coefficient product, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 11743–11764, 2019.
We present the evaluation activity of the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET) for the quantitative assessment of the Level 2 aerosol backscatter coefficient product derived by the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) aboard the International Space Station (ISS; Rodier et al., 2015). The study employs correlative CATS and EARLINET backscatter measurements within a 50 km distance between the ground station and the ISS overpass and as close in time as possible, typically with the starting time or stopping time of the EARLINET performed measurement time window within 90 min of the ISS overpass, for the period from February 2015 to September 2016. The results demonstrate the good agreement of the CATS Level 2 backscatter coefficient and EARLINET. Three ISS overpasses close to the EARLINET stations of Leipzig, Germany; Évora, Portugal; and Dushanbe, Tajikistan, are analyzed here to demonstrate the performance of the CATS lidar system under different conditions. The results show that under cloud-free, relative homogeneous aerosol conditions, CATS is in good agreement with EARLINET, independent of daytime and nighttime conditions. CATS low negative biases are observed, partially attributed to the deficiency of lidar systems to detect tenuous aerosol layers of backscatter signal below the minimum detection thresholds; these are biases which may lead to systematic deviations and slight underestimations of the total aerosol optical depth (AOD) in climate studies. In addition, CATS misclassification of aerosol layers as clouds, and vice versa, in cases of coexistent and/or adjacent aerosol and cloud features, occasionally leads to non-representative, unrealistic, and cloud-contaminated aerosol profiles. Regarding solar illumination conditions, low negative biases in CATS backscatter coefficient profiles, of the order of 6.1 %, indicate the good nighttime performance of CATS. During daytime, a reduced signal-to-noise ratio by solar background illumination prevents retrievals of weakly scattering atmospheric layers that would otherwise be detectable during nighttime, leading to higher negative biases, of the order of 22.3 %.
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