Technical note: Absorption aerosol optical depth components from AERONET observations of mixed dust plumes

Shin, Sung-Kyun; Tesche, Matthias; Müller, Detlef; Noh, Youngmin

Absorption aerosol optical depth (AAOD) as obtained from sun–sky photometer measurements provides a measure of the light-absorbing properties of the columnar aerosol loading. However, it is not an unambiguous aerosol-type-specific parameter, particularly if several types of absorbing aerosols, for instance black carbon (BC) and mineral dust, are present in a mixed aerosol plume. The contribution of mineral dust to total aerosol light absorption is particularly important at UV wavelengths. In this study we refine a lidar-based technique applied to the separation of dust and non-dust aerosol types for the use with Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) direct sun and inversion products. We extend the methodology to retrieve AAOD related to non-dust aerosol (AAODinline-formuland) and BC (AAODinline-formulaBC). We test the method at selected AERONET sites that are frequently affected by aerosol plumes that contain a mixture of Saharan or Asian mineral dust and biomass-burning smoke or anthropogenic pollution, respectively. We find that aerosol optical depth (AOD) related to mineral dust as obtained with our methodology is frequently smaller than coarse-mode AOD. This suggests that the latter is not an ideal proxy for estimating the contribution of mineral dust to mixed dust plumes. We present the results of the AAODinline-formulaBC retrieval for the selected AERONET sites and compare them to coincident values provided in the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring System aerosol reanalysis. We find that modelled and AERONET AAODinline-formulaBC are most consistent for Asian sites or at Saharan sites with strong local anthropogenic sources.

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Shin, Sung-Kyun / Tesche, Matthias / Müller, Detlef / et al: Technical note: Absorption aerosol optical depth components from AERONET observations of mixed dust plumes. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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