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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Apr 2018

Research article | 06 Apr 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Extreme levels of Canadian wildfire smoke in the stratosphere over central Europe – Part 1: AERONET, MODIS and lidar observations

Albert Ansmann1, Holger Baars1, Alexandra Chudnovsky2, Moritz Haarig1, Igor Veselovskii3, Ina Mattis4, Patric Seifert1, Ronny Engelmann1, and Ulla Wandinger1 Albert Ansmann et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Tel Aviv University, Department of Geography and Human Environment, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 3Physics Instrumentation Center of General Physics Institute, Moscow, Russia
  • 4Observatory Hohenpeissenberg, German Weather Service, Hohenpeissenberg, Germany

Abstract. Light extinction coefficients of 500Mm−1, about 20 times higher than after the Pinatubo volcanic eruptions in 1991, were observed with lidar in the stratosphere over Leipzig, Germany, on 22 August 2017. A pronounced smoke layer extended from 14–16km height and was 3–4km above the local tropopause. Optically dense layers of Canadian wildfire smoke reached central Europe 10 days after injection into the lower stratosphere caused by rather strong pyrocumulonimbus activity over western Canada. The smoke-related aerosol optical thickness (AOT) was close to 1.0 at 532nm over Leipzig during the noon hours. We present detailed observations of this record-breaking smoke event in a series of two articles. In part 1, we provide an overview of Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) sun photometer observations and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) retrievals of AOT and show lidar measurements documenting the aerosol layering and the very high particle extinction coefficients. In part 2 (Haarig et al., 2018), observations with three polarization/Raman lidars are presented, performed at Leipzig after sunset on 22 August to elucidate the optical and microphysical properties of the aged smoke. As shown in this part 1, smoke particles were found throughout the free troposphere (532nm AOT of 0.3). A pronounced 2-km thick stratospheric smoke layer occurred from 14–16km height (AOT of 0.6). AERONET and lidar observations indicate peak mass concentrations of 70–100μgm−3 in the stratosphere around noon and a well-defined (accumulation mode) smoke particle size distribution characterized by a large effective radius of 0.3–0.4μm and the absence of a particle coarse mode.

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