Articles | Volume 12, issue 16
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 7351–7363, 2012

Special issue: Observations and modeling of aerosol and cloud properties...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 7351–7363, 2012

Research article 16 Aug 2012

Research article | 16 Aug 2012

Mixing of dust and NH3 observed globally over anthropogenic dust sources

P. Ginoux1, L. Clarisse2, C. Clerbaux2,3, P.-F. Coheur2, O. Dubovik4, N. C. Hsu5, and M. Van Damme2 P. Ginoux et al.
  • 1NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
  • 2Spectroscopie de l'Atmosphère, Service de Chimie Quantique et Photophysique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
  • 3UPMC Université Paris 06; Université Versailles St.-Quentin; CNRS/INSU, LATMOS-IPSL, Paris, France
  • 4Laboratoire d'Optique Atmosphérique, Université de Lille 1/CNRS, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France
  • 5NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

Abstract. The global distribution of dust column burden derived from MODIS Deep Blue aerosol products is compared to NH3 column burden retrieved from IASI infrared spectra. We found similarities in their spatial distributions, in particular their hot spots are often collocated over croplands and to a lesser extent pastures. Globally, we found 22% of dust burden collocated with NH3, with only 1% difference between land-use databases. This confirms the importance of anthropogenic dust from agriculture. Regionally, the Indian subcontinent has the highest amount of dust mixed with NH3 (26%), mostly over cropland and during the pre-monsoon season. North Africa represents 50% of total dust burden but accounts for only 4% of mixed dust, which is found over croplands and pastures in Sahel and the coastal region of the Mediterranean. In order to evaluate the radiative effect of this mixing on dust optical properties, we derive the mass extinction efficiency for various mixtures of dust and NH3, using AERONET sunphotometers data. We found that for dusty days the coarse mode mass extinction efficiency decreases from 0.62 to 0.48 m2 g−1 as NH3 burden increases from 0 to 40 mg m−2. The fine mode extinction efficiency, ranging from 4 to 16 m2 g−1, does not appear to depend on NH3 concentration or relative humidity but rather on mineralogical composition and mixing with other aerosols. Our results imply that a significant amount of dust is already mixed with ammonium salt before its long range transport. This in turn will affect dust lifetime, and its interactions with radiation and cloud properties.

Final-revised paper