1National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, VA 23666, USA
2University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA
3Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, China
4NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681, USA
5Kyushu University, Kasuga, Fukuoka, Japan
6National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
7Science Systems and Applications, Inc, Hampton, USA
Abstract. Airborne dust is a major environmental hazard in Asia. Using an analysis of the first full year of CALIPSO lidar measurements, this paper derives unprecedented, altitude-resolved seasonal distributions of desert dust transported over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and the surrounding areas. The CALIPSO lidar observations include numerous large dust plumes over the northern slope and eastern part of the TP, with the largest number of dust events occurring in the spring of 2007, and some layers being lofted to altitudes of 10 km and higher. Generation of the Tibetan airborne dusts appears to be largely associated with source regions to the north and on the eastern part of the plateau. Examination of the CALIPSO time history reveals an "airborne dust corridor" due to the eastward transport of dusts originating primarily in these source areas. This corridor extends from west to east and shows a seasonality largely modulated by the TP through its dynamical and thermal forcing on the atmospheric flows. On the southern side, desert dust particles originate predominately in North India and Pakistan. The dust transport occurs primarily in dry seasons around the TP western and southern slopes and dust particles become mixed with local polluted aerosols. No significant amount of dust appears to be transported over the Himalayas. Extensive forward trajectory simulations are also conducted to confirm the dust transport pattern from the nearby sources observed by the CALIPSO lidar.