Systematic lidar observations of Saharan dust over Europe in the frame of EARLINET (2000-2002)
De Tomasi, F.
Mamouri, R. E.
More than 130 observation days of the horizontal and vertical extent of Saharan dust intrusions over Europe during the period May 2000 to December 2002 were studied by means of a coordinated lidar network in the frame of the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET). The number of dust events was greatest in late spring, summer, and early autumn periods, mainly in southern (S) and southeastern (SE) Europe. Multiple aerosol dust layers of variable thickness (300-7500 m) were observed. The center of mass of these layers was located in altitudes between 850 and 8000 m. However, the mean thickness of the dust layer typically stayed around 1500-3400 m and the corresponding mean center of mass ranged from 2500 to 6000 m. In exceptional cases, dust aerosols reached northwestern (NW), northern (N), or northeastern (NE) Europe, penetrating the geographical area located between 4 degrees W-28 degrees E (longitude) and 38 degrees N-58 degrees N (latitude). Mean aerosol optical depths (AOD), extinction-to-backscatter ratios (lidar ratios, LR), and linear depolarization ratios of desert aerosols ranged from 0.1 to 0.25 at the wavelength of 355 or 351 nm, 30 to 80 sr at 355 or 351 nm, and 10 to 25% at 532 nm, respectively, within the lofted dust plumes. In these plumes typical Saharan dust backscatter coefficients ranged from 0.5 to 2 Mm(-1) sr(-1). Southern European stations presented higher variability of the LR values and the backscatter-related Angstrom exponent values (BRAE) (LR: 20-100 sr; BRAE: -0.5 to 3) than northern ones (LR: 30 80 sr; BRAE: -0.5 to 1).