• volcanic ash plume;
  • optical properties;
  • mass concentration;
  • remote sensing;
  • lidar;
  • photometer

[1] The optically thickest volcanic ash plume ever measured over Germany was monitored with multiwavelength Raman lidars and Sun photometer at Leipzig and Munich. When this ash layer, originating from the Eyjafjoll eruptions in southern Iceland, crossed Leipzig between 2.5 and 6 km height on 16 April 2010, the total 500 nm aerosol optical depth reached 1.0, and the ash–related optical depth was about 0.7. Volume light–extinction coefficients (40–75–minute mean values) measured over Leipzig and Munich at 355 and 532 nm reached values of 400–600 Mm−1 and ash mass concentrations were on the order of 1000 ± 350 μg/m3 in the center of the main ash layer. Extinction–to–backscatter ratios ranged from 55 ± 5 sr (Munich) to 60 ± 5 sr (Leipzig) in the main ash layer, and the particle linear depolarization ratio was close to 0.35 at both wavelengths. Rather low photometer–derived Ångström exponents (500–1640 nm wavelength range) indicated the presence of a significant amount of large ash particles with diameters >20 μm.