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Observations of the spectral dependence of particle depolarization ratio of aerosols using NASA Langley airborne High Spectral Resolution Lidar

By S. P. Burton, J. W. Hair, M. Kahnert, R. A. Ferrare, C. A. Hostetler, A. L. Cook, D. B. Harper, T. A. Berkoff, S. T. Seaman, J. E. Collins, M. A. Fenn and R. R. Rogers

Abstract

Particle depolarization ratio is presented for three case studies from the NASA Langley airborne High Spectral Resolution Lidar-2 (HSRL-2). Particle depolarization ratio from lidar is an indicator of non-spherical particles and is sensitive to the fraction of non-spherical particles and their size. The HSRL-2 instrument measures depolarization at three wavelengths: 355, 532, and 1064 nm. The three measurement cases presented here include two cases of dust aerosol and one case of smoke aerosol. These cases have partial analogs in earlier HSRL-1 depolarization measurements at 532 and 1064 nm and in literature, but the availability of three wavelengths gives additional insight into different scenarios for non-spherical particles in the atmosphere. A case of transported Saharan dust has a spectral dependence with a peak of 0.30 at 532 nm with smaller particle depolarization ratios of 0.27 and 0.25 at 1064 and 355 nm, respectively. A case of locally generated wind-blown North American dust has a maximum of 0.38 at 1064 nm, decreasing to 0.37 and 0.24 at 532 and 355 nm, respectively. The cause of the maximum at 1064 nm is inferred to be very large particles that have not settled out of the dust layer. The smoke layer has the opposite spectral dependence, with the peak of 0.24 at 355 nm, decreasing to 0.09 and 0.02 at 532 and 1064 nm. The depolarization in the smoke case is inferred to be due to the presence of coated soot aggregates. We also point out implications for the upcoming EarthCARE satellite, which will measure particle depolarization ratio only at 355 nm. At 355 nm, the particle depolarization ratios for all three of our case studies are very similar, indicating that smoke and dust may be more difficult to separate with EarthCARE measurements than heretofore supposed

Topics: Geophysics. Cosmic physics, QC801-809
Publisher: Copernicus Publications
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.5194/acpd-15-24751-2015
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:e4ec5217d34c41a5a1794fe08e370f56
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