Climatological aspects of the optical properties of fine/coarse mode aerosol mixtures

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Abstract

[1] Aerosol mixtures composed of coarse mode desert dust combined with fine mode combustion generated aerosols (from fossil fuel and biomass burning sources) were investigated at three locations that are in and/or downwind of major global aerosol emission source regions. Multiyear monitoring data at Aerosol Robotic Network sites in Beijing (central eastern China), Kanpur (Indo-Gangetic Plain, northern India), and Ilorin (Nigeria, Sudanian zone of West Africa) were utilized to study the climatological characteristics of aerosol optical properties. Multiyear climatological averages of spectral single scattering albedo (SSA) versus fine mode fraction (FMF) of aerosol optical depth at 675 nm at all three sites exhibited relatively linear trends up to ∼50% FMF. This suggests the possibility that external linear mixing of both fine and coarse mode components (weighted by FMF) dominates the SSA variation, where the SSA of each component remains relatively constant for this range of FMF only. However, it is likely that a combination of other factors is also involved in determining the dynamics of SSA as a function of FMF, such as fine mode particles adhering to coarse mode dust. The spectral variation of the climatological averaged aerosol absorption optical depth (AAOD) was nearly linear in logarithmic coordinates over the wavelength range of 440–870 nm for both the Kanpur and Ilorin sites. However, at two sites in China (Beijing and Xianghe), a distinct nonlinearity in spectral AAOD in logarithmic space was observed, suggesting the possibility of anomalously strong absorption in coarse mode aerosols increasing the 870 nm AAOD.

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