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Original Research Papers

Desert dust aerosol air mass mapping in the western Sahara, using particle properties derived from space-based multi-angle imaging

Authors:

Ralph Kahn ,

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, US
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Andreas Petzold,

Institute for Atmospheric Physics, German Aerospace Center (DLR), DE
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Manfred Wendisch,

Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, DE
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Eike Bierwirth,

Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, DE
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Tilman Dinter,

Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, DE
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Michael Esselborn,

Institute for Atmospheric Physics, German Aerospace Center (DLR), DE
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Marcus Fiebig,

Department of Atmospheric and Climate Research, Norwegian Institute for Air Research, NO
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Birgit Heese,

Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, DE
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Peter Knippertz,

Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, DE
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Detlef Müller,

Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, DE
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Alexander Schladitz,

Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, DE
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Wolfgang von Hoyningen-Huene

Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, DE
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Abstract

Coincident observations made over the Moroccan desert during the Sahara mineral dust experiment (SAMUM) 2006 field campaign are used both to validate aerosol amount and type retrieved from multi-angle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) observations, and to place the suborbital aerosol measurements into the satellite’s larger regional context. On three moderately dusty days during which coincident observations were made, MISR mid-visible aerosol optical thickness (AOT) agrees with field measurements point-by-point to within 0.05–0.1. This is about as well as can be expected given spatial sampling differences; the space-based observations capture AOT trends and variability over an extended region. The field data also validate MISR’s ability to distinguish and to map aerosol air masses, from the combination of retrieved constraints on particle size, shape and single-scattering albedo. For the three study days, the satellite observations (1) highlight regional gradients in the mix of dust and background spherical particles, (2) identify a dust plume most likely part of a density flow and (3) show an aerosol air mass containing a higher proportion of small, spherical particles than the surroundings, that appears to be aerosol pollution transported from several thousand kilometres away.

How to Cite: Kahn, R., Petzold, A., Wendisch, M., Bierwirth, E., Dinter, T., Esselborn, M., Fiebig, M., Heese, B., Knippertz, P., Müller, D., Schladitz, A. and von Hoyningen-Huene, W., 2009. Desert dust aerosol air mass mapping in the western Sahara, using particle properties derived from space-based multi-angle imaging. Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 61(1), pp.239–251. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0889.2008.00398.x
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  Published on 01 Jan 2009
 Accepted on 18 Sep 2008            Submitted on 24 Mar 2008

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