Phys 650: Experimental Atmospheric Physics - Spring 2009

Material covered in class

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Class 1



Introduction; review of procedures & rules; Discussion on atmospheric aerosols and aerosol sampling instrumentation.

Files to download:

1- Course introduction and Structure

2- Introduction to Atmospheric Aerosols




3- Aerosol Samplers and Measuring Devices


Class 2



Preparation of Sampling Station; Filter Pre-weighting; Calibration of Station Components; Preparation of Sampling Documentation.

Files to download:

1- Station Schematics

2- Example of Sampling Instruction Manual Students must update it for this particular station and present it as part of their assignment for the experiment.




3- Example of Filter Log Sheet Students must keep an updated folder with the daily log sheets.


Class 3



  • Follow up Discussion on the Aerosol Sampling Station

- post weighing procedures

- 2nd mass flow meter calibration

  • Introduction to the Course Project Part I: Sunphotometers and Sunphotometer;

- Spectral characterization of the LED detector





Presentations Discussed in Class:

1-      Project Introduction

2-      Operational Amplifiers


Important references:

1- Nice Discussion on LED sunphotometer from its inventor Forrest Mims III.

2- LED Sunphotometer reference 1

3- LED Sunphotometer reference 2

4- LED Sunphotometer reference 3

5- Data Sheet for LM741 Operational Amplifier

6- Printed Circuit Board Tutorial



Class 4



Construction of the Portable Sunphotometer






Class 5



- Introduction to atmospheric radiative transfer and radiative transfer codes

- Introduction to Radiometry and Instrument FOV.

- Open Lab: Calibration of the Sunphotometer and other Radiometers

  • FOV measurements for: LED emission, plain LED detection, LED+ collimator detection
  • Integrating Sphere (Calibration files)




-         Extra Questions for course project

-         Procedures for Sunphotometer calibration

-         Spreadsheet for solar angle calculation



Class 6



Application of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) on aerosol studies Part I: Imaging

-         Analysis of filters collected at the UMBC station

-         Analysis of aerosols generated in the Laboratory




Presentation 1 - Introduction to electron microscopy

Presentation 2 Aerosol particle sizing

Movie on SEM -


Class 7



Application of electron microscopy on aerosol studies Part 2: Elemental analysis using X-ray emission

-         Analysis of filters collected at the UMBC station

-         Analysis of aerosols generated in the Laboratory


Presentation 1 Individual particle analysis using the X-ray system of the Scanning electron microscope

Presentation 2 Discussion of short report from last class (we decided to put this one online because the discussion can be interesting for the students.






Class 8



Relative Humidity, Dew, and Frost Points

-         Power point file with objectives, experiments, references, and instructions for short report.

-         Reference 1- Frost Point Hygrometer JGR paper

-         Reference 2- RH discussion: Standard X WMO

-         Reference 3- Uncertainty on RH measurements

-         Example of Psychrometric Chart

-         Vaisala Humidity Calculator






Class 9



Continuation of previous experiment: Relative Humidity, Dew, and Frost Points






Class 10



- Discussion on short reports from classes 8 and 9, plus Beltsville radiosondes.

- Tiger team work on course project





Class 11



Introduction to Surface BRDF and Atmospheric Scattering.

Continued work on course project.





Class 12



Measurements of Surface BRDF and Atmospheric Scattering.




Students will measure the angular properties of several surfaces in the laboratory, and will apply Fresnel equations on its interpretation.


Class 13



Continued Measurements of Surface BRDF and Atmospheric Scattering





Class 14








Class 15















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