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Journal of Arid Land

Abstract

The vertical distribution of aerosols in the troposphere is important for determining their effects on climate. The vertical distribution of aerosols under different atmospheric conditions in the free troposphere was directly observed using a surface micro-pulse LIDAR (MPL) and a TP/WVP-3000 microwave radiometer at the Semi-Arid Climate & Environment Observatory of Lanzhou University (SACOL, 35.95°N, 104.10°E) in the western Loess Plateau, China, in the spring of 2008. The results showed two possible transportation paths of a sandstorm from May 1 to May 4 in 2008. In one path, sand-dust aerosols were transported toward the east from the Taklimakan Desert to the Badain Jaran Desert and the Tengger Desert by a westerly wind and then toward the southeast to Jingtai and Lanzhou. A weak aerosol index (AI) indicated another possible transport path toward the east from the Taklimakan Desert to the Qaidam Basin and through the Tibetan Plateau eastward to SACOL. The aerosol profile of sandstorm processes over the SACOL area displayed three patterns: a single peak distribution under stable atmospheric conditions, indicating urban aerosol distribution; an exponential decrease under unstable atmospheric conditions in the presence of a sandstorm; and a slight change in the mixed layer during the first and last stages of the sandstorm, indicative of thorough mixing during lifting and deposition stages. Analyses of the aerosol layer height (ALH) showed that there are two types of ALH diurnal variation. The ALH during the first sandstorm stage was complex and disordered, and affected by atmospheric circulation. While the ALH had obvious diurnal variation in the other stage, the ALH and aerosol extinction coefficient (AEC) had a single peak, and was higher in the afternoon and lower in the morning. In the second case the ALH was in agreement with the atmospheric boundary layer height (BLH) variation. As a result of the development of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) during day and maintenance at night, ALH during sandstorm-free days showed obvious diurnal variations. Multiple vertical distribution patterns of sand-dust aerosols will result in different climate effects; therefore, the vertical distribution patterns can be used to parameterize climate and aerosol models.

Keywords

aerosol profile; aerosol layer height; atmospheric boundary layer; atmospheric conditions; distribution pattern

First Page

357

Last Page

368

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