The 2008 China-U.S. joint dust field experiment, which aims to estimate the effect of dust on radiative forcing and its associated climatic impacts, was conducted during the dust-intensive period from March to June of 2008 over the Loess Plateau of northwest China. Dust aerosol vertical profiles and long-range transport of dust storm were measured with the three MPL-net Micro-Pulse Lidar (MPL) systems as well as other ground-based instruments and spaceborne remote sensing techniques. In this study, to ensure the effectiveness of the retrieval results, an effective algorithm was introduced for retrieving aerosol optical properties and vertical profiles from Mie lidar measurements. The advantage of this algorithm is that Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) retrieval from lidar measurements can be accomplished without the use of the so-called lidar ratio for the corresponding quantities obtained from the AERONET Sun photometer. Dust aerosol vertical profiles are derived successfully from three MPL lidar systems using this algorithm. A dust storm that affected a large part of northwest China on 2 May 2008 was studied using measurements obtained from the three ground-based lidar systems, satellite-borne instruments and NCEP reanalysis data. The results show that different aerosol vertical structures were present at each site, and the colder Siberia air mass and stronger and longer cyclones around Mongolia are key features leading to the dust storm.