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Robotic Solar Tracking Spectrophotometer for Remote Sensing of Column Radiative Properties
AuthorRainwater, Bryan J.
AdvisorArnott, W. Patrick
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Aerosols in the atmosphere are poorly understood in terms of how they affect weather and drive climate and climate change. To advance this knowledge of aerosols, I constructed a robotic solar tracking spectrophotometer to measure direct solar radiation in a wide spectral range. From this data, I will obtain the cirrus cloud optical depth, column ozone concentration, aerosol optical depth, and aerosol size distribution. Long term collection of this data is used to analyze the effects of aerosols and to quantify local radiative forcing. By using University of Nevada, Reno as a measurement site, I can quantify the role of aerosols in local radiative forcing from the variety of aerosols observed at the surface and aloft. Reno is susceptible to dynamic aerosol transport across the Sierras and is greatly affected by forest fires and dust storms making it a favorable place for aerosol and climate research. Presented is the design of this instrument and measurement comparisons with auxiliary instrumentation for the air above Reno, Nevada, USA.