Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

A study of Asian dust plumes using satellite, surface, and aircraft measurements during the INTEX-B field experiment



[1] Asian dust events occur frequently during the boreal spring season. Their optical properties have been analyzed by using a combination of source region (ground-based and satellite) and remote Pacific Ocean (aircraft) measurements during the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment-Phase B (INTEX-B) field campaign which lasted from 7 April to 15 May 2006. A strong dust event originating from the Gobi Desert and passing over the Xianghe surface site on 17 April 2006 has been extensively analyzed. The surface averaged aerosol optical depth (AOD) values increased from 0.17 (clear sky) to 4.0 (strong dust), and the Angström exponent (α) dropped from 1.26 (clear sky) to below 0.1. Its total downwelling SW flux over the Xianghe site (thousands of kilometers away from the dust source region) is only 46% of the clear-sky value with almost no direct transmission and nearly double the diffuse SW clear-sky value. This event was also captured 6 days later by satellite observations as well as the UND/NASA DC-8 aircraft over the eastern Pacific Ocean. The DC-8 measurements in the remote Pacific region further classified the plumes into dust dominant, pollution dominant, and a mixture of dust and pollution events. HYSPLIT backward trajectories not only verified the origins of each case we selected but also showed (1) two possible origins for the dust: the Gobi and Taklimakan deserts; and (2) pollution: urban areas in eastern China, Japan, and other industrialized cities east of the two deserts. Based on the averaged satellite retrieved AOD data (0.5° × 0.5° grid box), declining AOD values with respect to longitude demonstrated the evolution of the transpacific transport pathway of Asian dust and pollution over the period of the field campaign.