Transpacific transport and evolution of the optical properties of Asian dust

Zhaoyan Liu, T. Duncan Fairlie, Itsushi Uno, Jingfeng Huang, Dong Wu, Ali Omar, Jayanta Kar, Mark Vaughan, Raymond Rogers, David Winker, Charles Trepte, Yongxiang Hu, Wenbo Sun, Bing Lin, Anning Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Five years of CALIPSO lidar layer products are used to study transpacific transport of Asian dust. We focus on possible changes to dust intrinsic optical properties during the course of transport, with specific emphasis on changes to particulate depolarization ratio (PDR). PDR distributions for Asian dust transported across the Pacific are compared to previously reported PDR distributions for African dust transported across the Atlantic. African dust shows a slight decreasing trend in PDR during westward transport across the Atlantic during its most active long-range transport season in summer. Asian dust, on the other hand, shows some spatial variability in PDR over the Pacific during its most active long-range transport season in spring. The dust PDR is generally smaller over the ocean than over the Tarim basin and nearby downwind regions. PDR also shows a decreasing trend with latitude moving northward toward the Arctic, together with an increasing trend in the dust aerosol optical depth (AOD) when passing over polluted Asian regions. Possible explanations include (i) the mixing of dust externally or internally with other types of aerosol over the heavily developed industrial regions in East Asia, and (ii) the downstream mixing of dust plumes from different source regions (i.e., Tarim and Gobi). Dust from different source regions exhibits relatively large differences in PDR, with mean values of 0.34±0.07, 0.28±0.06, and 0.30±0.08, respectively, over the Tarim basin, Gobi Desert and Northwest African source regions. Different transport mechanisms are seen for African dust and Asian dust. Asian dust transport is originated by cold fronts and driven by westerly jets. In contrast, summer African transatlantic dust transport is driven by trade winds and is generally well confined in altitude in the free troposphere throughout the tropics and subtropics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Spectroscopy


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