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AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork) is an optical ground-based aerosol monitoring network and data archive system. AERONET measurements of the column-integrated aerosol optical properties in the southern Africa region were made by sun-sky radiometers at several sites in August-September 2000 (see table below) as a part of the SAFARI 2000 dry season aircraft campaign.

The AERONET program is an inclusive federation of ground-based remote-sensing aerosol networks established by AERONET and PHOTON and greatly expanded by AEROCAN (the Canadian sun-photometer network) and other agency, institute, and university partners. AERONET is supported by NASA's Earth Observing System and expanded by federation with many non-NASA institutions. The goal is to assess aerosol optical properties and validate satellite retrievals of aerosol optical properties. The network imposes standardization of instruments, calibration, and processing. The network hardware consists of identical automatic sun-sky scanning spectral radiometers owned by national agencies and universities. Data from this collaboration provide globally distributed observations of spectral aerosol optical depths, inversion products, and precipitable water in geographically diverse aerosol regimes.

More information can be found in the SAFARI 2000 companion document [] and at:

Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows:

Holben, B. N., and T. F. Eck. 2004. SAFARI 2000 AERONET Ground-based Aerosol Data, Dry Season 2000. Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/706.


Eck, T. F., B. N. Holben, D. E. Ward, M. M. Mukelabai, O. Dubovik, A. Smirnov, J. S. Schafer, N. C. Hsu, S. J. Piketh, A. Queface, J. Le Roux, R. J. Swap, and I. Slutsker, 2003: Variability of biomass burning aerosol optical characteristics in southern Africa during the SAFARI 2000 dry season campaign and a comparison of single scattering albedo estimates from radiometric measurements. J. Geophys. Res. 108(D13): 8477, doi:10.1029/2002JD002321, 2003.

Data Format:

The data files contain numeric aerosol optical property measurements at various sites in southern Africa. The data files are stored as ASCII files, one file per site per year, in comma-separated-value (.csv) format, with complete descriptive headers. The data are Level 2.0, which means they have been cloud-screened and quality assured.

AERONET Data Description

Header Parameter Description
Site The site name
Lat Site latitude in degrees
Long Site longitude in degrees
PI Site principal investigator(s)
His/Her e-mail Site principal investigator(s) email address(es)
t0 Initial starting point of data period (used with time_offset to plot time more effectively in spreadsheet)
Column Parameter Description
Date Date of measurement
Time Time of measurement (GMT)
Time_offset Time offset from t0
AOT_XXX Aerosol optical thickness (unitless) for wavelength channel XXX (-100 = data not available)
Water Water Vapor measurement in centimeters (0 = data not available) (units = cm^3/cm^2 or g/cm^2)
Air Mass Optical airmass

The Principal Investigator for each site is responsible for deployment, maintenance, and data collection. The PI would like to be informed of use of that site's data and, per the SAFARI 2000 Data Policy, offered co-authorship as appropriate.

AERONET Site Table

Site Name Latitude Longitude Years Available PI's
Ascension Island, Atlantic Ocean -7.976000 -14.415000 1999, 2000, 2001 Brent Holben and Chuck McClain
Bethlehem, RSA -28.248000 28.333000 2000, 2001 Brent Holben
Etosha Pan, Namibia -19.175000 15.914000 2000, 2001 Brent Holben
Inhaca Island, Mozambique -26.041000 32.905000 2000 Brent Holben
Johanesburg, RSA (Joberg) -26.186000 28.029000 2000 Brent Holben
Kaoma, Zambia -14.793000 24.795000 2000 Brent Holben
Maun Tower, Botswana -19.900000 23.550000 2000 Brent Holben
Mongu, Zambia -15.254000 23.151000 1999, 2000, 2001 Brent Holben
Mwinilunga, Zambia -11.740000 24.431000 2000 Brent Holben
Ndola, Zambia -12.995000 28.658000 2000 Brent Holben
Senanga, Zambia -16.109000 23.293000 2000 Brent Holben
Skukuza, RSA -24.992000 31.587000 1999, 2000, 2001 Brent Holben
Skukuza Aeroport, RSA -24.969000 31.593000 2000 Mark Helmlinger
Solwezi, Zambia -12.171000 26.363000 2000 Brent Holben
Sua Pan, Botswana -20.533000 26.067000 2000 Mark Helmlinger
Walvis Bay, RSA -22.658000 14.564000 2000 Jeannette Vandenbosch
Zambezi, Zambia -13.533000 23.107000 2000 Brent Holben

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