Articles | Volume 16, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 5111–5137, 2016
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 5111–5137, 2016
Research article
25 Apr 2016
Research article | 25 Apr 2016

An overview of the first decade of PollyNET: an emerging network of automated Raman-polarization lidars for continuous aerosol profiling

Holger Baars1, Thomas Kanitz1,a, Ronny Engelmann1, Dietrich Althausen1, Birgit Heese1, Mika Komppula2, Jana Preißler4,b, Matthias Tesche7,c, Albert Ansmann1, Ulla Wandinger1, Jae-Hyun Lim5, Joon Young Ahn5, Iwona S. Stachlewska6, Vassilis Amiridis8, Eleni Marinou8,21, Patric Seifert1, Julian Hofer1, Annett Skupin1, Florian Schneider1, Stephanie Bohlmann1, Andreas Foth1,16, Sebastian Bley1, Anne Pfüller2,†, Eleni Giannakaki2, Heikki Lihavainen3, Yrjö Viisanen3, Rakesh Kumar Hooda3,12, Sérgio Nepomuceno Pereira4, Daniele Bortoli4, Frank Wagner4,20, Ina Mattis20, Lucja Janicka6, Krzysztof M. Markowicz6, Peggy Achtert7,d, Paulo Artaxo9, Theotonio Pauliquevis10, Rodrigo A. F. Souza11, Ved Prakesh Sharma12, Pieter Gideon van Zyl13, Johan Paul Beukes13, Junying Sun14, Erich G. Rohwer15, Ruru Deng17, Rodanthi-Elisavet Mamouri8,18, and Felix Zamorano19 Holger Baars et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Permoserstraße 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Kuopio, Finland
  • 3Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Évora University, Institute for Earth Sciences, Évora, Portugal
  • 5National Institute of Environmental Research, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  • 6Institute of Geophysics, Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
  • 7Department for Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, and Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 8IAASARS, National Observatory of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • 9Institute of Physics, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 10Department of Biological Sciences, Federal University of São Paulo at Diadema, Diadema, Brazil
  • 11Coordination of Meteorology, University of the State of Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil
  • 12The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, India
  • 13Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • 14Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry of CMA, Institute of Atmospheric Composition, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 15Physics Department, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 16Leipzig Institute for Meteorology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  • 17School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  • 18Cyprus University of Technology, Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Limassol, Cyprus
  • 19Laboratory of Atmospheric Research, University of Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile
  • 20Hohenpeißenberg Meteorological Observatory, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Hohenpeißenberg, Germany
  • 21Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • anow at: European Space Agency, ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands
  • bnow at: Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, School of Physics, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
  • cnow at: School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
  • dnow at: School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • deceased

Abstract. A global vertically resolved aerosol data set covering more than 10 years of observations at more than 20 measurement sites distributed from 63° N to 52° S and 72° W to 124° E has been achieved within the Raman and polarization lidar network PollyNET. This network consists of portable, remote-controlled multiwavelength-polarization-Raman lidars (Polly) for automated and continuous 24/7 observations of clouds and aerosols. PollyNET is an independent, voluntary, and scientific network. All Polly lidars feature a standardized instrument design with different capabilities ranging from single wavelength to multiwavelength systems, and now apply unified calibration, quality control, and data analysis. The observations are processed in near-real time without manual intervention, and are presented online at The paper gives an overview of the observations on four continents and two research vessels obtained with eight Polly systems. The specific aerosol types at these locations (mineral dust, smoke, dust-smoke and other dusty mixtures, urban haze, and volcanic ash) are identified by their Ångström exponent, lidar ratio, and depolarization ratio. The vertical aerosol distribution at the PollyNET locations is discussed on the basis of more than 55 000 automatically retrieved 30 min particle backscatter coefficient profiles at 532 nm as this operating wavelength is available for all Polly lidar systems. A seasonal analysis of measurements at selected sites revealed typical and extraordinary aerosol conditions as well as seasonal differences. These studies show the potential of PollyNET to support the establishment of a global aerosol climatology that covers the entire troposphere.

Short summary
The findings from more than 10 years of global aerosol lidar measurements with Polly systems are summarized, and a data set of optical properties for specific aerosol types is given. An automated data retrieval algorithm for continuous Polly lidar observations is presented and discussed by means of a Saharan dust advection event in Leipzig, Germany. Finally, a statistic on the vertical aerosol distribution including the seasonal variability at PollyNET locations around the globe is presented.
Final-revised paper