National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2000

Airborne lidar measurements of aerosol spatial distribution and optical properties over the Atlantic Ocean during a European pollution outbreak of ACE-2

Flamant, C., J. Pelon, P. Chazette, V. Trouillet, P.K. Quinn, R. Frouin, D. Bruneau, J.F. Leon, T.S. Bates, J.E. Johnson, and J. Livingston

Tellus, 52B, 662–677, doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0889.2000.00083.x (2000)

Airborne lidar measurements of the aerosol spatial distribution and optical properties associated with an European pollution outbreak which occured during the Second Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-2) are presented. Size distribution spectra measured over the ocean near Sagres (Portugal), on-board the Research Vessel Vodyanitsky and on-board the Avion de Recherche Atmosphérique et Télédétection (ARAT) have been used to parameterize the aerosol vertical distribution. This parameterization, which is essential to the analysis of airborne lidar measurements, has been validated via closure experiments on extinction coefficient profiles and aerosol optical depth (AOD). During the studied event, AODs retrieved from lidar measurements at 0.73 µm range between 0.055 and 0.10. The parameterized aerosol vertical distribution has been used to shift AOD retrievals from 0.73 to 0.55 µm to enable comparison with other remote sensing instruments. At the latter wavelength, AODs retrieved from lidar measurements range between 0.08 and 0.14. An agreement better than 20% is obtained between AODs derived from lidar and sunphotometer measurements made at the same time and place over the ocean near the coast. However, large differences are observed with the AOD estimated from Meteosat imagery in the same area. These differences are thought to be caused by large uncertainties associated with the Meteosat sensitivity for small AODs or by the presence of thin scattered clouds. Lidar-derived particulate extinction profiles and scattering coefficient profiles measured by a nephelometer mounted on the ARAT, in a different part of the plume, were found in good agreement, which could be an indication that absorption by pollution aerosols is small and/or that soot is present in small amounts in the European pollution plume. Lidar measurements have also been used to differentiate the contribution of different aerosol layers to the total AOD. It is shown that the AOD in the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) can contribute as much as 70% of the total AOD in some regions. At 0.73 µm, the AOD in the continental plume was observed to diminish with the distance to the coastline from 0.04 to 0.03.

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