Aerosols are tiny particles in the 0.001 to 100 µm range suspended in the atmosphere and can be solids such as smoke and dust or liquids such as haze droplets. Either naturally occurring or produced by human activities, aerosols have an impact on respiratory health and global climate and weather.
Aerosols and Health
Aerosols have been linked to many health problems effecting allergy sufferers and those with respiratory conditions like asthma and emphysema. In light of many recent studies, there now exists overwhelming scientific evidence that inhaled aerosols increase the risk of respiratory and cardiopulmonary disease. While it is accepted that the concentration of aerosols is associated with the incidences of these conditions, the effect of specific aerosol properties such as type, size, and spatial and temporal distribution are not well known.
Aerosols and Climate
Aerosols play an important yet poorly understood role in climate change. They act on the earth’s energy budget both directly by reflecting and absorbing solar radiation and indirectly by modifying cloud optical properties, generation, and lifetime. Unlike radiative forcing due to greenhouse gases, which is understood to a high degree and the effects of which are easily measured, the uncertainty in aerosol radiative forcing and the difficulty in measuring its effects limit the ability to predict climate change.
Aerosol Measurement Equipment
Determining optical properties such as aerosol optical thickness (AOT) is crucial to estimating the direct influence on radiative forcing. Measuring AOT can be performed with the Microtops II�
Sunphotometer. The Microtops II� Sunphotometer measures AOT to an accuracy of 0.01 optical thickness. With hundreds of units being used by Weather Monitoring Stations, Atmospheric Laboratories, and Universities, the Microtops II� Sunphotometer has been providing quality aerosol measurements for over 15 years.
> Click here for more information on the Microtops II� Ozonometer
Papers and Protocols on Aerosol Measurement