Articles | Volume 9, issue 21
06 Nov 2009
 | 06 Nov 2009

Extreme Saharan dust event over the southern Iberian Peninsula in september 2007: active and passive remote sensing from surface and satellite

J. L. Guerrero-Rascado, F. J. Olmo, I. Avilés-Rodríguez, F. Navas-Guzmán, D. Pérez-Ramírez, H. Lyamani, and L. Alados Arboledas

Abstract. This study investigates aerosol optical properties during the extreme Saharan dust event detected from 3 to 7 September 2007 over Granada, southern Iberian Peninsula, with both active and passive remote sensing instrumentation from surface and satellite. The intensity of the event was visualized on the aerosol optical depth series obtained by the sun-photometer Cimel CE 318-4 operated at Granada in the framework of AERONET from August 2004 until December 2008 (level 2 data). A combination of large aerosol optical depth (0.86–1.50) at 500 nm, and reduced Angström exponent (0.1–0.25) in the range 440–870 nm, was detected on 6 September during daytime. This Saharan dust event also affected other Iberian Peninsula stations included in AERONET (El Arenosillo and Évora stations), and it was monitored by MODIS instrument on board Aqua satellite. Vertically resolved measurements were performed by a ground-based Raman Lidar and by CALIPSO satellite. During the most intense stage, on 6 September, maximum aerosol backscatter values were a factor of 8 higher than other maxima during this Saharan dust event. Values up to 1.5×10−2 km−1 sr−1 at 355 and 532 nm were detected in the layer with the greatest aerosol load between 3–4 km a.s.l., although aerosol particles were also detected up to 5.5 km a.s.l. In this stage of the event, dust particles at these altitudes showed a backscatter-related Angström exponent between –0.44 and 0.53 for the two spectral intervals considered. The results from different measurements (active/passive and ground-based/satellite) reveal the importance of performing multi-instrumental measurements to properly characterize the contribution of different aerosol types from different sources during extreme events. The atmospheric stabilization effect of the aerosol particles has been characterized by computing the solar heating rates using SBDART code.

Final-revised paper