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Mapping atmospheric aerosols with a citizen science network of smartphone spectropolarimeters

(a) AOT (550 nm) maps for the Netherlands derived from iSPEX DoLP data for 8 and 9 July and 5 September 2013. Note that the contrast in spatial aerosol features is decreased by spatial and temporal averaging, particularly on 9 July, when the measurement density was low and the spatiotemporal gradients in the AOT were large. The locations of all underlying iSPEX measurements are superimposed on the map. The daily averaged wind direction at Cabauw is indicated with an arrow. (b) MODIS AOT (550 nm) maps for the same dates: 8 July Aqua, 9 July Terra, and 5 September Aqua.
F Snik, JHH Rietjens, A Apituley, H Volten, B Mijling, A Di Noia, S Heikamp, RC Heinsbroek, OP Hasekamp, JM Smit, J Vonk, DM Stam, G van Harten, J de Boer, CU Keller

To assess the impact of atmospheric aerosols on health, climate, and air traffic, aerosol properties must be measured with fine spatial and temporal sampling. This can be achieved by actively involving citizens and the technology they own to form an atmospheric measurement network. We establish this new measurement strategy by developing and deploying iSPEX, a low-cost, mass-producible optical add-on for smartphones with a corresponding app. The aerosol optical thickness (AOT) maps derived from iSPEX spectropolarimetric measurements of the daytime cloud-free sky by thousands of citizen scientists throughout the Netherlands are in good agreement with the spatial AOT structure derived from satellite imagery and temporal AOT variations derived from ground-based precision photometry. These maps show structures at scales of kilometers that are typical for urban air pollution, indicating the potential of iSPEX to provide information about aerosol properties at locations and at times that are not covered by current monitoring efforts.

Bibliografische gegevens

F Snik, JHH Rietjens, A Apituley, H Volten, B Mijling, A Di Noia, S Heikamp, RC Heinsbroek, OP Hasekamp, JM Smit, J Vonk, DM Stam, G van Harten, J de Boer, CU Keller. Mapping atmospheric aerosols with a citizen science network of smartphone spectropolarimeters
published, Geophys. Res. Lett., 2014

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