Atmospheric Optical Properties and Spectral Analysis of Desert Aerosols Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Scientific background Aerosols can interact directly with solar and terrestrial radiation by scattering as well as absorption. In addition, they can indirectly alter the planetary albedo by modifying the properties of clouds. Objectives Investigations have been devoted to two main areas: (1) Aerosol climatology situation in the Negev desert, investigations of physical and chemical characteristics of aerosols, and study of the local and long-range transport trajectory of polluted air masses over the Negev desert; and (2) An estimation of the optical properties throughout the atmospheric column by surface measurements via performance of spectral and statistical analysis of the data received from two measurement systems. Results and conclusions Analyzed data from the Sede Boker site, in the Negev Desert of Israel, shows an increase in aerosol optical depth during the summer seasons and a decrease during winter. One of the possible reasons for this characteristic is an increase of the precipitable water (reaches 3.0-3.5 cm) due to a constant wind stream from the Mediterranean Sea in same time. The highest probability distribution of the aerosol optical depth is in the range of 0.15-0.20; and of the Angstrom parameter is in range of 0.83 - 1.07. During dust storm events, the scattering coefficient range at 670 nm and 440 nm wavelengths were inverted. It was discovered that the dust particles in this case had non-spherical character. Comparison between optical depth, measured through all atmospheric column, and scattering coefficient from surface measurements provides correlation coefficient (r) equal to 0.64. The Angstrom parameter, calculated via optical depth and via scattering coefficient, provides a correlation coefficient of 0.66. Thus we can obtain an estimate of the influence of the surface aerosol situation on column optical properties. The combined analysis of dust cloud altitude and optical depth as a function of the time indicates long-term transport and settling of the aerosol, thus this analysis allowed to get a qualitative relation with trajectories and transport models. An additional finding is that except for the dust storms, the aerosol optical properties defined by fine particles, i.e. product of urban pollution. Possible explanations for this situation are the pollution sources in the Israeli Mediterranean coast, where population and industrial centers are concentrated, and long-range transport of polluted air masses from the European region.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002