CALIPSO detection of an Asian tropopause aerosol layer

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Abstract

[1] The first four years of the CALIPSO lidar measurements have revealed the existence of an aerosol layer at the tropopause level associated with the Asian monsoon season in June, July and August. This Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (ATAL) extends geographically from Eastern Mediterranean (down to North Africa) to Western China (down to Thailand), and vertically from 13 to 18 km. The Scattering Ratio inferred from CALIPSO shows values between 1.10–1.15 on average with associated depolarization ratio of less than 5%. The Gaussian distribution of the points indicates that the mean value is statistically driven by an enhancement of the background aerosol level and not by episodic events such as a volcanic eruption or cloud contamination. Further satellite observations of aerosols and gases as well as field campaigns are urgently needed to characterize this layer, which is likely to be a significant source of non-volcanic aerosols for the global upper troposphere with a potential impact on its radiative and chemical balance.

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