NASA AERONET Sun Photometers

May 11, 2020

The MIEMP operates two Sun Photometers (a Cimel CE318 and a Cimel CE318-T Sun Sky Lunar Multispectral Photometer) as part of the NASA AERONET network:

The AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork) program is a federation of ground-based remote sensing aerosol networks established by NASA and PHOTONS (PHOtométrie pour le Traitement Opérationnel de Normalisation Satellitaire; Univ. of Lille 1, CNES, and CNRS-INSU) and is expanded by networks and collaborators from national agencies, institutes, universities, individual scientists, and partners.

Sun photometers are high-precision light meters measuring the amount of sunlight arriving directly from the sun over a narrow range of colors or wavelengths. They are used to measure the extent to which aerosols and water prevent the direct transmission of sunlight of a specific wavelength through the atmosphere.

Through its international network of sun photometers, the AERONET collaboration provides globally distributed observations of spectral aerosol optical depth, inversion products, and precipitable water in diverse aerosol regimes.

The MIEMP CE318-T, a next generation sun photometer, capable of estimating spectral aerosol optical depths under moonlight, has been in operation since March 2020. The CE318 sun photometer, operational since June 2012, was upgraded to CE318-T functionality in 2020.

Fig 3: NASA AERONET Sun Photometer Cimel CE318, recently upgraded to CE318-T.