Articles | Volume 14, issue 16
Research article
18 Aug 2014
Research article |  | 18 Aug 2014

Transport of aerosol to the Arctic: analysis of CALIOP and French aircraft data during the spring 2008 POLARCAT campaign

G. Ancellet, J. Pelon, Y. Blanchard, B. Quennehen, A. Bazureau, K. S. Law, and A. Schwarzenboeck

Abstract. Lidar and in situ observations performed during the Polar Study using Aircraft, Remote Sensing, Surface Measurements and Models, Climate, Chemistry, Aerosols and Transport (POLARCAT) campaign are reported here in terms of statistics to characterize aerosol properties over northern Europe using daily airborne measurements conducted between Svalbard and Scandinavia from 30 March to 11 April 2008. It is shown that during this period a rather large number of aerosol layers was observed in the troposphere, with a backscatter ratio at 532 nm of 1.2 (1.5 below 2 km, 1.2 between 5 and 7 km and a minimum in between). Their sources were identified using multispectral backscatter and depolarization airborne lidar measurements after careful calibration analysis. Transport analysis and comparisons between in situ and airborne lidar observations are also provided to assess the quality of this identification. Comparison with level 1 backscatter observations of the spaceborne Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) were carried out to adjust CALIOP multispectral observations to airborne observations on a statistical basis. Recalibration for CALIOP daytime 1064 nm signals leads to a decrease of their values by about 30%, possibly related to the use of the version 3.0 calibration procedure. No recalibration is made at 532 nm even though 532 nm scattering ratios appear to be biased low (−8%) because there are also significant differences in air mass sampling between airborne and CALIOP observations. Recalibration of the 1064 nm signal or correction of −5% negative bias in the 532 nm signal both could improve the CALIOP aerosol colour ratio expected for this campaign. The first hypothesis was retained in this work. Regional analyses in the European Arctic performed as a test emphasize the potential of the CALIOP spaceborne lidar for further monitoring in-depth properties of the aerosol layers over Arctic using infrared and depolarization observations. The CALIOP April 2008 global distribution of the aerosol backscatter reveal two regions with large backscatter below 2 km: the northern Atlantic between Greenland and Norway, and northern Siberia. The aerosol colour ratio increases between the source regions and the observations at latitudes above 70° N are consistent with a growth of the aerosol size once transported to the Arctic. The distribution of the aerosol optical properties in the mid-troposphere supports the known main transport pathways between the mid-latitudes and the Arctic.

Final-revised paper