Smoke of extreme Australian bushfires observed in the stratosphere over Punta Arenas, Chile, in January 2020: Optical thickness, lidar ratios, and depolarization ratios at 355 and 532 nm

Kevin Ohneiser, Albert Ansmann, Holger Baars, Patric Seifert, Boris Barja, Cristofer Jimenez, Martin Radenz, Audrey Teisseire, Athina Floutsi, Moritz Haarig, Andreas Foth, Alexandra Chudnovsky, Ronny Engelmann, Felix Zamorano, Johannes Bühl, Ulla Wandinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present particle optical properties of stratospheric smoke layers observed with multiwavelength polarization Raman lidar over Punta Arenas (53.2 S, 70.9 W), Chile, at the southernmost tip of South America in January 2020. The smoke originated from the record-breaking bushfires in Australia. The stratospheric aerosol optical thickness reached values up to 0.85 at 532 nm in mid- January 2020. The main goal of this rapid communication letter is to provide first stratospheric measurements of smoke extinction-to-backscatter ratios (lidar ratios) and particle linear depolarization ratios at 355 and 532 nm wavelengths. These aerosol parameters are important input parameters in the analysis of spaceborne CALIPSO and Aeolus lidar observations of the Australian smoke spreading over large parts of the Southern Hemisphere in January and February 2020 up to heights of around 30 km. Lidar and depolarization ratios, simultaneously measured at 355 and 532 nm, are of key importance regarding the homogenization of the overall Aeolus (355 nm wavelength) and CALIPSO (532 nm wavelength) lidar data sets documenting the spread of the smoke and the decay of the stratospheric perturbation, which will be observable over the entire year of 2020. We found typical values and spectral dependencies of the lidar ratio and linear depolarization ratio for aged stratospheric smoke. At 355 nm, the lidar ratio and depolarization ratio ranged from 53 to 97 sr (mean 71 sr) and 0.2 to 0.26 (mean 0.23), respectively. At 532 nm, the lidar ratios were higher (75-112 sr, mean 97 sr) and the depolarization ratios were lower with values of 0.14- 0.22 (mean 0.18). The determined depolarization ratios for aged Australian smoke are in very good agreement with respective ones for aged Canadian smoke, observed with lidar in stratospheric smoke layers over central Europe in the summer of 2017. The much higher 532 nm lidar ratios, however, indicate stronger absorption by the Australian smoke particles.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberangeo-38-815-2020
Pages (from-to)8003-8015
Number of pages13
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume20
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Jul 2020

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