Arctic haze over Central Europe

J. Heintzenberg, T. Tuch, B. Wehner, A. Wiedensohler, H. Wex, A. Ansmann, I. Mattis, D. Mueller, M. Wendisch, S. Eckhardt, A. Stohl

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19 Citations (Scopus)


An extraordinary aerosol situation over Leipzig, Germany in April 2002 was investigated with a comprehensive set of ground-based volumetric and columnar aerosol data, combined with aerosol profiles from lidar, meteorological data from radiosondes and air mass trajectory calculations. Air masses were identified to stem from the Arctic, partly influenced by the greater Moscow region. An evaluation of ground-based measurements of aerosol size distributions during these periods showed that the number concentrations below about 70 nm in diameter were below respective long-term average data, while number, surface and volume concentrations of the particles larger than about 70 nm in diameter were higher than the long-term averages. The lidar aerosol profiles showed that the imported aerosol particles were present up to about 3 km altitude. The particle optical depth was up to 0.45 at 550 nm wavelength. With a one-dimensional spectral radiative transfer model top of the atmosphere (TOA) radiative forcing of the aerosol layer was estimated for a period with detailed vertical information. Solar aerosol radiative forcing values between -23 and -38 W m(-2) were calculated, which are comparable to values that have been reported in heavily polluted continental plumes outside the respective source regions. The present report adds weight to previous findings of aerosol import to Europe, pointing to the need for attributing the three-dimensional aerosol burden to natural and anthropogenic sources as well as to aerosol imports from adjacent or distant source regions. In the present case, the transport situation is further complicated by forward trajectories, indicating that some of the observed Arctic haze may have originated in Central Europe. This aerosol was transported to the European Arctic before being re-imported in the modified and augmented form to its initial source region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-807
Number of pages12
JournalTellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003




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