Articles | Volume 17, issue 23
Research article
07 Dec 2017
Research article |  | 07 Dec 2017

Long-term profiling of mineral dust and pollution aerosol with multiwavelength polarization Raman lidar at the Central Asian site of Dushanbe, Tajikistan: case studies

Julian Hofer, Dietrich Althausen, Sabur F. Abdullaev, Abduvosit N. Makhmudov, Bakhron I. Nazarov, Georg Schettler, Ronny Engelmann, Holger Baars, K. Wadinga Fomba, Konrad Müller, Bernd Heinold, Konrad Kandler, and Albert Ansmann

Abstract. For the first time, continuous vertically resolved aerosol measurements were performed by lidar in Tajikistan, Central Asia. Observations with the multiwavelength polarization Raman lidar PollyXT were conducted during CADEX (Central Asian Dust EXperiment) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, from March 2015 to August 2016. Co-located with the lidar, a sun photometer was also operated. The goal of CADEX is to provide an unprecedented data set on vertically resolved aerosol optical properties in Central Asia, an area highly affected by climate change but largely missing vertically resolved aerosol measurements. During the 18-month measurement campaign, mineral dust was detected frequently from ground to the cirrus level height. In this study, an overview of the measurement period is given and four typical but different example measurement cases are discussed in detail. Three of them are dust cases and one is a contrasting pollution aerosol case. Vertical profiles of the measured optical properties and the calculated dust and non-dust mass concentrations are presented. Dust source regions were identified by means of backward trajectory analyses. A lofted layer of Middle Eastern dust with an aerosol optical thickness (AOT) of 0.4 and an extinction-related Ångström exponent of 0.41 was measured. In comparison, two near-ground dust cases have Central Asian sources. One is an extreme dust event with an AOT of 1.5 and Ångström exponent of 0.12 and the other one is a most extreme dust event with an AOT of above 4 (measured by sun photometer) and an Ångström exponent of −0.08. The observed lidar ratios (and particle linear depolarization ratios) in the presented dust cases range from 40.3 to 46.9 sr (and 0.18–0.29) at 355 nm and from 35.7 to 42.9 sr (0.31–0.35) at 532 nm wavelength. The particle linear depolarization ratios indicate almost unpolluted dust in the case of a lofted dust layer and pure dust in the near-ground dust cases. The lidar ratio values are lower than typical lidar ratio values for Saharan dust (50–60 sr) and comparable to Middle Eastern or west-Asian dust lidar ratios (35–45 sr). In contrast, the presented case of pollution aerosol of local origin has an Ångström exponent of 2.07 and a lidar ratio (particle linear depolarization ratio) of 55.8 sr (0.03) at 355 nm and 32.8 sr (0.08) at 532 nm wavelength.

Short summary
The Central Asian Dust Experiment provides unprecedented data on vertically resolved aerosol optical properties over Central Asia from continuous 18-month polarization Raman lidar observations in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Central Asia is affected by climate change (e.g. glacier retreat) but in a large part missing vertically resolved aerosol measurements, which would help to better understand transport of dust and pollution aerosol across Central Asia and their influence on climate and health.
Final-revised paper