Characterization of the Spatial Distributions and Optical Properties of Smoke Using Lidar Observations during SEAC4RS
Friday, 19 December 2014
The NASA Langley Research Center airborne combined Differential Absorption Lidar – High Spectral Resolution Lidar (DIAL/HSRL) characterized ozone and aerosol distributions while deployed on the NASA DC-8 during the Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) airborne field campaign. In addition to measuring ozone concentrations throughout the troposphere and lower stratosphere, this advanced lidar system simultaneously measures aerosol extinction and aerosol optical thickness (AOT) at 532 nm via the HSRL technique, as well as aerosol backscatter and depolarization at 355, 532, and 1064 nm in both nadir and zenith directions. The DIAL/HSRL measurements of lidar ratio (i.e., the ratio of extinction and backscatter), aerosol depolarization ratio, backscatter color ratio, and spectral depolarization ratio (i.e., the ratio of aerosol depolarization at the two wavelengths) provide information about the aerosol physical properties and so are combined to infer aerosol type. Aerosol extinction and optical thickness are apportioned to these aerosol types. Smoke from biomass burning is identified by the lidar data and the optical parameters along with the vertical and horizontal distributions are presented from the SEAC4RS campaigns. Mixed Layer (ML) heights, which are often good proxies for daytime Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) heights, are derived along the aircraft track by locating strong gradients in the aerosol backscatter profiles. The DIAL/HSRL measurements are used to determine the fraction of AOT due to smoke within and above the ML. In addition, the DIAL/HSRL measurements from the research flight on August 6, 2013 are used to quantify and characterize smoke above uniform stratus clouds.