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Volume 18, issue 3 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 2119-2138, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 14 Feb 2018

Research article | 14 Feb 2018

Optical and microphysical properties of natural mineral dust and anthropogenic soil dust near dust source regions over northwestern China

Xin Wang1, Hui Wen1, Jinsen Shi1, Jianrong Bi1, Zhongwei Huang1, Beidou Zhang1, Tian Zhou1, Kaiqi Fu1, Quanliang Chen2, and Jinyuan Xin3 Xin Wang et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2Plateau Atmospheric and Environment Laboratory of Sichuan Province, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Chengdu University of Information Technology, Chengdu 610225, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry (LAPC), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China

Abstract. Mineral dust aerosols (MDs) not only influence the climate by scattering and absorbing solar radiation but also modify cloud properties and change the ecosystem. From 3 April to 16 May 2014, a ground-based mobile laboratory was deployed to measure the optical and microphysical properties of MDs near dust source regions in Wuwei, Zhangye, and Dunhuang (in chronological order) along the Hexi Corridor over northwestern China. Throughout this dust campaign, the hourly averaged (±standard deviation) aerosol scattering coefficients (σsp, 550nm) of the particulates with aerodynamic diameters less than 2.5µm (PM2.5) at these three sites were sequentially 101.5±36.8, 182.2±433.1, and 54.0±32.0Mm−1. Correspondingly, the absorption coefficients (σap, 637nm) were 9.7±6.1, 6.0±4.6, and 2.3±0.9Mm−1; single-scattering albedos (ω, 637nm) were 0.902±0.025, 0.931±0.037, and 0.949±0.020; and scattering Ångström exponents (Åsp, 450–700nm) of PM2.5 were 1.28±0.27, 0.77±0.51, and 0.52±0.31. During a severe dust storm in Zhangye (i.e., from 23 to 25 April), the highest values of σsp2.5 ( ∼ 5074Mm−1), backscattering coefficient (σbsp2.5,  ∼ 522Mm−1), and ω637 ( ∼ 0.993) and the lowest values of backscattering fraction (b2.5,  ∼ 0.101) at 550nm and Åsp2.5 ( ∼ −0.046) at 450–700nm, with peak values of aerosol number size distribution (appearing at the particle diameter range of 1–3µm), exhibited that the atmospheric aerosols were dominated by coarse-mode dust aerosols. It is hypothesized that the relatively higher values of mass scattering efficiency during floating dust episodes in Wuwei and Zhangye are attributed to the anthropogenic soil dust produced by agricultural cultivations.

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Short summary
A ground-based mobile laboratory was deployed near the dust source regions over northwestern China. We not only captured natural dust but also characterized the properties of anthropogenic soil dust produced by agricultural cultivations. The results indicate that large differences were found between the optical and microphysical properties of anthropogenic and natural dust.
A ground-based mobile laboratory was deployed near the dust source regions over northwestern...