CALIPSO Measurements of Saharan Dust Properties near Source and Transport Regions
Thursday, 18 December 2014
The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) mission, a collaboration between NASA and Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), was launched in April 2006 to provide vertically resolved measurements of cloud and aerosol distributions. The primary instrument on the CALIPSO satellite is the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP), a near-nadir viewing two-wavelength polarization-sensitive instrument. The unique nature of CALIOP measurements make it quite challenging to validate backscatter profiles, aerosol type, and cloud phase, all of which are used to retrieve extinction and optical depth. We exploit the large data set generated by CALIPSO between 2006 – 2013 to determine a multi-year climatology of the properties of Saharan dust, in particular seasonal optical depths, layer frequencies, and layer heights of Saharan dust gridded in accordance with the Level 3 data products protocol. The data are screened using standard CALIPSO quality assurance flags, cloud aerosol discrimination (CAD) scores, overlying features and layer properties. To evaluate the effects of transport on the morphology, vertical extent and size of Saharan dust layers, we compare probability distribution functions of the layer integrated volume depolarization ratios, geometric depths and integrated attenuated color ratios near the source (Lat 0o to 40o Lon -20o to 20o) to the same distributions in the far field or transport region (Lat 0o to 40o Lon -80o to -20o). To evaluate the uncertainty in the lidar ratios, we compare the values computed from dust layers overlying opaque water clouds, considered nominal, with the constant lidar ratio value used in the CALIOP algorithms for dust. We also explore the effects of noise on the CALIOP retrievals at daytime by comparing the distributions of the properties at daytime to the nighttime distributions.