Articles | Volume 11, issue 10
Research article
16 May 2011
Research article |  | 16 May 2011

On the aerosol weekly cycle spatiotemporal variability over Europe

A. K. Georgoulias and K. A. Kourtidis

Abstract. In this work, we focus on the spatial and temporal variability of the aerosol weekly cycle over Europe as these were recorded from TERRA MODIS and AQUA MODIS satellite instruments. Aerosol optical properties retrieved from MODIS TERRA (February 2000–February 2009) and AQUA (July 2002–December 2008) were used to produce an aerosol weekly cycle index. First, the general aerosol optical depth (AOD550 nm) weekly patterns were defined at a 1° × 1° resolution using the satellite-based index and six regions of interest were selected. To remove episodic dust transport events, two different aerosol flags, employing fine mode ratio (FMR550 nm) and AOD550 nm data, were applied diagnostically, showing that the observed weekly cycles over Europe are due to continental aerosols. A second spatial averaging method was then used for the investigation of the weekly variability and the statistical significance of the weekly cycle over each of the previously selected regions. Three major weekly cycle plumes are observed over Europe. A strong positive (higher values during midweek) weekly cycle plume appears over Central Europe, while a strong negative (higher values during weekend) weekly plume appears over the Iberian Peninsula and the North-eastern Europe. The temporal examination of the weekly cycles shows that in some areas there are seasonal differences in the sign of the weekly cycle. The aerosol weekly variability over different regions in Europe was examined in conjunction with the dominating synoptic wind patterns from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis, showing that the seasonal weekly cycle plumes over regions situated in the eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea could be partly attributed to the westerly transport of continental aerosols.

Final-revised paper