Desert dust aerosol air mass mapping in the western Sahara, using particle properties derived from space-based multi-angle imaging

Ralph Kahn, Andreas Petzold, Manfred Wendisch, Eike Bierwirth, Tilman Dinter, Michael Esselborn, Marcus Fiebig, Birgit Heese, Peter Knippertz, D. Mueller, Alexander Schladitz, Andwolfgang Von Hoyningen-Huene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Coincident observations made over the Moroccan desert during the Sahara mineral dust experiment (SAMUM) 2006 field campaign are used both to validate aerosol amount and type retrieved from multi-angle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) observations, and to place the suborbital aerosol measurements into the satellite's larger regional context. On three moderately dusty days during which coincident observations were made, MISR mid-visible aerosol optical thickness (AOT) agrees with field measurements point-by-point to within 0.05-0.1. This is about as well as can be expected given spatial sampling differences; the space-based observations capture AOT trends and variability over an extended region. The field data also validate MISR's ability to distinguish and to map aerosol air masses, from the combination of retrieved constraints on particle size, shape and single-scattering albedo. For the three study days, the satellite observations (1) highlight regional gradients in the mix of dust and background spherical particles, (2) identify a dust plume most likely part of a density flow and (3) show an aerosol air mass containing a higher proportion of small, spherical particles than the surroundings, that appears to be aerosol pollution transported from several thousand kilometres away.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-251
Number of pages13
JournalTellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

Keywords

  • SENSITIVITY
  • OCEAN
  • RETRIEVAL
  • MISR

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