CALIPSO inferred most probable heights of global dust and smoke layers

Huang, J., J. Guo, F. Wang, Z. Liu, M. Jeong, H. Yu, and Z. Zhang (2015), CALIPSO inferred most probable heights of global dust and smoke layers, J. Geophys. Res., 120, doi:10.1002/2014JD022898.

The vertical location of aerosol layers is critical for determining predominance of aerosol radiative and microphysical effects in aerosol-cloud-precipitation-climate interaction. The spaceborne lidar system, the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO), provides an unprecedented opportunity to observe vertical distributions of global aerosol layers. In this study we examine the most probable height (MPH) of dust and smoke layers, which are calculated either from aerosol occurrence frequency (OF) in vertical feature mask or aerosol extinction profile. The study focuses on six high-aerosol-loading regions where aerosols are of great interest in a range of scientific topics: Saharan Air Layer (SAL) over Tropical Atlantic, West African Monsoon region (WAM), Southeast Atlantic Ocean (SAO), Southeast Asia (SEA) and South China Sea, Amazon (AMZ), and Northwestern Pacific (NWP). The analysis revealed interesting spatial and seasonal variability of different vertical mixture features over these regions: seasonal migration of dust layers over SAL, separation and mixture of dust and smoke layers over WAM and NWP, and smoke layer above clouds over SAO, SEA, and AMZ. Results also indicated that the OF-based MPH tends to be much higher than the aerosol optical depth (AOD)-based MPH, owing to the predominating near-surface sources. Within the same vertical resolution grid of CALIPSO, aerosols are found with higher OF at higher levels but AOD tends to increase toward lower levels, because most aerosol sources are near the surface and the aerosol layers transported to high altitudes are generally much more diluted over larger spatial domain than those near the surface.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)