Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Kristin Lewis; William P. Arnott; Hans Moosmuller; Cyle E. Wold
    Date: 2008
    Source: Journal of Geophysical Research. 113: D16203, doi:10.1029/2007JD009699.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (433.57 KB)


    A dual-wavelength photoacoustic instrument operating at 405 and 870 nm was used during the 2006 Fire Lab at Missoula Experiment to measure light scattering and absorption by smoke from the combustion of a variety of biomass fuels. Simultaneous measurements of aerosol light scattering by reciprocal nephelometry within the instrument's acoustic resonator accompany photoacoustic aerosol light absorption measurements. Single scattering albedo values at 405 nm ranging from 0.37 to 0.95 were measured for different fuel types, and the spectral dependence of absorption was quantified using the Angstrom exponent of absorption. An absorption Angstrom exponent near unity is commonly observed for motor vehicle emission-generated black carbon aerosol. For biomass smoke, Angstrom exponents as high as 3.5 were found in association with smoke having single scattering albedo near unity. The measurements strongly suggest that light-absorbing organic material is present in wood smoke. A second single-wavelength photoacoustic instrument with reciprocal nephelometry was used to quantify aerosol scattering and absorption at 532 nm. Absorption Angstrom exponents calculated using 532 and 870 nm data were as large as 2.5 for smoke with single scattering albedos near unity. The spectral variation in optical properties provides insight into the differentiation of aerosols from mobile or industrial sources versus those from biomass burning. Optical properties of biomass smokes could be classified by general fuel type such as flowering shrubs versus pine needle litter.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Lewis, Kristin; Arnott, William P.; Moosmuller, Hans; Wold, Cyle E. 2008. Strong spectral variation of biomass smoke light absorption and single scattering albedo observed with a novel dual-wavelength photoacoustic instrument. Journal of Geophysical Research. 113: D16203, doi:10.1029/2007JD009699.


    dual-wavelength photoacoustic instrument, spectral variation, biomass smoke, scattering, absorption, Angstrom exponent

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page