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Volume 18, issue 16 | Copyright

Special issue: EARLINET aerosol profiling: contributions to atmospheric and...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 11831-11845, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-11831-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 20 Aug 2018

Research article | 20 Aug 2018

Extreme levels of Canadian wildfire smoke in the stratosphere over central Europe on 21–22 August 2017

Albert Ansmann1, Holger Baars1, Alexandra Chudnovsky2, Ina Mattis3, Igor Veselovskii4, Moritz Haarig1, Patric Seifert1, Ronny Engelmann1, and Ulla Wandinger1 Albert Ansmann et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Tel Aviv University, Porter School of Earth Sciences and Environment, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 3Observatory Hohenpeissenberg, German Weather Service, Hohenpeissenberg, Germany
  • 4Physics Instrumentation Center of General Physics Institute, Moscow, Russia

Abstract. Light extinction coefficients of 500Mm−1, about 20 times higher than after the Pinatubo volcanic eruptions in 1991, were observed by European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET) lidars in the stratosphere over central Europe on 21–22 August 2017. Pronounced smoke layers with a 1–2km vertical extent were found 2–5km above the local tropopause. Optically dense layers of Canadian wildfire smoke reached central Europe 10 days after their injection into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere which was caused by rather strong pyrocumulonimbus activity over western Canada. The smoke-related aerosol optical thickness (AOT) identified by lidar was close to 1.0 at 532nm over Leipzig during the noon hours on 22 August 2017. Smoke particles were found throughout the free troposphere (AOT of 0.3) and in the pronounced 2km thick stratospheric smoke layer at an altitude of 14–16km (AOT of 0.6). The lidar observations indicated peak mass concentrations of 70–100µgm−3 in the stratosphere. In addition to the lidar profiles, we analyzed Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) fire radiative power (FRP) over Canada, and the distribution of MODIS AOT and Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aerosol index across the North Atlantic. These instruments showed a similar pattern and a clear link between the western Canadian fires and the aerosol load over Europe. In this paper, we also present Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) sun photometer observations, compare photometer and lidar-derived AOT, and discuss an obvious bias (the smoke AOT is too low) in the photometer observations. Finally, we compare the strength of this record-breaking smoke event (in terms of the particle extinction coefficient and AOT) with major and moderate volcanic events observed over the northern midlatitudes.

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Extremely large light extinction coefficients of 500 Mm-1, about 20 times higher than after the Pinatubo volcanic eruptions in 1991, were observed by EARLINET lidars in the stratosphere over central Europe from 21 to 22 August, 2017. This paper provides an overview based on ground-based (lidar, AERONET) and satellite (MODIS, OMI) remote sensing.
Extremely large light extinction coefficients of 500 Mm-1, about 20 times higher than after the...
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