Spatial distribution and optical properties of Saharan dust observed by airborne high spectral resolution lidar during SAMUM 2006
Airborne measurements of pure Saharan dust extinction and backscatter coefficients, the corresponding lidar ratio and the aerosol optical thickness (AOT) have been performed during the Saharan Mineral Dust Experiment 2006, with a high spectral resolution lidar. Dust layers were found to range from ground up to 4-6 km above sea level (asl). Maximum AOT values at 532 nm, encountered within these layers during the DLR Falcon research flights were 0.50-0.55. A significant horizontal variability of the AOT south of the High Atlas mountain range was observed even in cases of a well-mixed dust layer. High vertical variations of the dust lidar ratio of 38-50 sr were observed in cases of stratified dust layers. The variability of the lidar ratio was attributed to dust advection from different source regions. The aerosol depolarization ratio was about 30% at 532 nm during all measurements and showed only marginal vertical variations.