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

Research article 12 Jun 2018

Research article | 12 Jun 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).

Angular Scattering of the Sahara Dust Aerosol

Helmuth Horvath1, Lucas Alados Arboledas2,3, and Francisco Jose Olmo Reyes2,3 Helmuth Horvath et al.
  • 1University of Vienna, Faculty of Physics, Aerosol Physics and Environmental Physics, 1090 Vienna, Austria
  • 2University of Granada, Department of Applied Physics, 18071 Granada, Spain
  • 3Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research (IISTA -CEAMA), Granada, Spain

Abstract. Soil erosion aerosols can be transported considerable distances, the Sahara is one of the major sources on the world. In June 2016 the volume scattering function of the atmospheric aerosol has been determined in the Sierra Nevada, Spain, at an altitude of 2500m. Measurements were performed with a polar nephelometer permitting measurements between scattering angles of 5° to 175°. The values at the missing angles could be estimated to a high accuracy, using the shape of the scattering function adjacent to the missing angles, thus a complete volume scattering function was available. During the measuring period intrusions of long range transported Sahara aerosol happened several times. The classification of the aerosol was done by back trajectories and by the Angström exponent of the wavelength dependent scattering coefficient, which was determined by a three wavelength Integrating Nephelometer. The phase function of the Sahara aerosol had a stronger forward scattering, more side scattering and less backscattering compared to the usual aerosol, which is in agreement with other findings for irregular particles. The asymmetry parameter of the phase function is the best characteristic to distinguish Sahara Aerosol from non-Sahara aerosol. In this study the asymmetry parameter for the Sahara aerosol was larger than 0.65, whereas the non-Sahara aerosol had an asymmetry parameter below 0.6. A comparison with measurements performed with long range transported Gobi Desert aerosols observed in Kyoto, Japan, showed very similar results.

Helmuth Horvath et al.
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Helmuth Horvath et al.
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Short summary
During Sahara dust intrusions the volume scattering function of the aerosol has been measured in the Sierra Nevada, Spain, and compared to non-Sahara aerosols. The Sahara aerosol is distinct: Both more forward scattering and more side scattering have been found. A good characteristic for the optical properties of the Sahara aerosol is its asymmetry parameter, which in this study always was larger than 0.65. This is in agreement to the optical properties of the Gobi desert aerosol.
During Sahara dust intrusions the volume scattering function of the aerosol has been measured in...