Spectral aerosol optical depth characterization of desert dust during SAMUM 2006

Carlos Toledano, M. Wiegner, M. Garhammer, M. Seefeldner, J. Gasteiger, D. Müller, P. Koepke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The aerosol optical depth (AOD) in the range 340-1550 nm was monitored at Ouarzazate (Morocco) during the Saharan Mineral Dust Experiment (SAMUM) experiment in May-June 2006. Two different sun photometers were used for this purpose. The mean AOD at 500nm was 0.28, with a maximum of 0.83, and the mean Ångström exponent (AE) was 0.35. The aerosol content over the site changed alternatively from very low turbidity, associated to Atlantic air masses, to moderate dust load, associated to air masses arriving in the site from Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. The dusty conditions were predominant in the measurement period (78% of data), with AOD (500 nm) above 0.15 and AE below 0.4. The spectral features of the AOD under dusty conditions are discussed. Air mass back trajectory analysis is carried out to investigate the origin and height patterns of the dust loaded air masses. The advection of dust occurred mainly at atmospheric heights below 3000 m, where east flow is the predominant. At the 5000 m level, the air masses originate mainly over the Atlantic Ocean. Finally the Optical Properties of Aerosols and Clouds (OPAC) model is used to perform a set of simulations with different aerosol mixtures to illustrate the measured AOD and AE values under varying dust concentrations, and a brief comparison with other measurement sites is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-228
Number of pages13
JournalTellus, Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


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