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De- coupling interannual variations of vertical dust extinction over the Taklimakan Desert during 2007–2016 using CALIOP

Nan, Yang, Wang, Yuxuan
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.633 pp. 608-617
aerosols, altitude, climate, dust, sea level, spring
During the springtime, mineral dust from the Taklimakan Desert (TD) is lifted up to high altitudes and transported long distances by the westerlies. The vertical distributions of Taklimakan dust are important for both long-range transport and climate effects. In this study, we use CALIOP Level 3 dust extinction to describe interannual variation of dust extinction in TD aggregated at each 1km interval (1–2km, 2–3km, 3–4km, 4–5km and 5–6km) above mean sea level during springtime from 2007 to 2016. 87% of dust extinction over TD is concentrated at 1–4km taking a major composition of dust aerosol optical depth (AOD) and only 8.1% dust AOD is at 4–6km. Interannual variation of seasonal and monthly dust extinction at 1–4km is almost as same as dust AOD (R>0.99) but different from that at 4–6km (R are around 0.42). Our analysis provides observational evidence from CALIOP that vertical dust extinction over TD has distinctively different variability below and above 4km altitude and this threshold divides dust transport in TD into two systems. Taklimakan dust aerosols are more related to dust transport at high altitudes (4–10km) than low altitudes (0–4km) over downwind regions. High dust extinction below 4km over TD is necessary but not sufficient conditions to ensure dust transport easterly, while high dust extinction levels at 4–6km over TD are both necessary and sufficient conditions; such contrast leads to the de-coupled interannual variability seen by CALIOP.