Influence of biogenic pollen on optical properties of atmospheric aerosols observed by lidar over Gwangju, South Korea

Young Min Noh, D. Mueller, Hanlim Lee, Tae Jin Choi

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For the first time, optical properties of biogenic pollen, i.e., backscatter coefficients and depolarization ratios at 532 nm were retrieved by lidar observations. The extinction coefficient was derived with the assumption of possible values of the extinction-to-backscatter (lidar) ratio. We investigate the effect of the pollen on the optical properties of the observed atmospheric aerosols by comparing lidar and sun/sky radiometer measurements carried out at the lidar site. The observations were made with a depolarization lidar at the Gwangju Institute of Science & Technology (GIST) in Gwangju, Korea (35.13 degrees N, 126.50 degrees E) during an intensive observational period that lasted from 5 to 7 May 2009. The pollen concentration was measured with a Burkard trap sampler at the roof top of the Gwangju Bohoon hospital which is located 1 km away from the lidar site. During the observation period, high pollen concentrations of 1360, 2696, and 1952 m(-3) day(-1) were measured on 5, 6, and 7 May, respectively. A high lidar depolarization ratio caused by biogenic pollen was only detected during daytime within the planetary boundary layer which was at 1.5-2.0 km height above ground during the observational period. The contribution of biogenic pollen to the total backscatter coefficient was estimated from the particle depolarization ratio. Average hourly values of pollen optical depth were retrieved by integrating the pollen extinction coefficients. We find average values of 0.062 +/- 0.037, 0.041 +/- 0.028 and 0.067 +/- 0.036 at 532 nm on 5, 6, and 7 May, respectively. The contribution of pollen optical depth to total aerosol optical depth was 2-34%. The sun/sky radiometer data show that biogenic pollen can affect optical properties of atmospheric aerosol by increasing aerosol optical depth and decreasing the Angstrom exponent during daytime during the season of high pollen emission. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Depolarization ratio
  • Lidar
  • Pollen
  • Angstrom exponent
  • DUST
  • Optical depth


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