Studying Taklamakan Aerosol properties with Lidar (STAPL)
By now, the global impacts of atmospheric dust have been well-established. Nevertheless, relevant properties such as size distribution, depolarization ratio, and even single-scattering albedo have been shown to vary substantially between dust producing regions and are also strongly dependant on the conditions under which the dust is emitted. Even greater variations have been documented during the process of long-range transport. With continued improvement of detection technologies, research focus is increasingly turning to refinement of our knowledge of these properties of dust in order to better account for the presence of dust in models and data analysis. The purpose of this study is to use a combination of lidar data and models to directly observe the changing properties of dust layers as they are transported from their origin in the Taklamakan Desert of western China. With the co-operation of the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, a portable micropulse lidar system was installed at Aksu National Field on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin in late April 2013, during the Spring dust storm season. Over six days, data were collected on the optical properties of dust emissions passing over this location. The measurements of this lidar have shown the dust over Aksu on these days to have a significantly higher depolarization ratio than has been previously reported for the region. Model results show this dust was then transported across the region at least as far as Korea and Japan. Models from the Naval Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System (NAAPS) show that during transport the dust layers became intermixed with sulfate emissions from industrial sources in China as well as smoke from wildfires burning in south-east Asia and Siberia. The multi-wavelength raman-elastic lidar located in Gwangju South Korea was used to observe the vertical structure of the layers as well as optical properties such as colour ratio, depolarization ratio and extinction coeffcient after regional-scale transportation and mixing with other aerosols. By comparing the observations of the Gwangju lidar with those taken near the source at Aksu, we investigate the extent of the change in optical properties of the dust layers over time. There is some evidence that the layers were also transported in some form to North America but these observations are preliminary and will require further investigation.