Simultaneous observations of lower tropospheric continental aerosols with a ground-based, an airborne, and the spaceborne CALIOP lidar system



[1] We present an original experiment with multiple lidar systems operated simultaneously to study the capability of the Cloud-Aerosol LIdar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP), on board the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO), to infer aerosol optical properties in the lower troposphere over a midlatitude continental site where the aerosol load is low to moderate. The experiment took place from 20 June to 10 July 2007 in southern France. The results are based on three case studies with measurements coincident to CALIOP observations: the first case study illustrates a large-scale pollution event with an aerosol optical thickness at 532 nm (τa532) of ∼0.25, and the two other case studies are devoted to background conditions due to aerosol scavenging by storms with τa532 <0.1. Our experimental approach involved ground-based and airborne lidar systems as well as Sun photometer measurements when the conditions of observation were favorable. Passive spaceborne instruments, namely the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVERI) and the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), are used to characterize the large-scale aerosol conditions. We show that complex topographical structures increase the complexity of the aerosol analysis in the planetary boundary layer by CALIOP when τa532 is lower than 0.1 because the number of available representative profiles is low to build a mean CALIOP profile with a good signal-to-noise ratio. In a comparison, the aerosol optical properties inferred from CALIOP and those deduced from the other active and passive remote sensing observations in the pollution plume are found to be in reasonable agreement. Level-2 aerosol products of CALIOP are consistent with our retrievals.