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Journal of Arid Land  2012, Vol. 4 Issue (4): 357-368    DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1227.2012.00357
Research Articles     
Vertical distribution of sand-dust aerosols and the relationships with atmospheric environment
Jie ZHANG1, XingMing LI2
1 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education (KLME), Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China;
2 Meteorological Institute of Shaanxi Province, Xi’an 710078, China
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Abstract  The vertical distribution of aerosols in the troposphere is important for determining their effects on cli-mate. The vertical distribution of aerosols under different atmospheric conditions in the free troposphere was di-rectly observed using a surface micro-pulse LIDAR (MPL) and a TP/WVP-3000 microwave radiometer at the Semi-Arid Climate & Environment Observatory of Lanzhou University (SACOL, 35.95°N, 104.10°E) in the western Loess Plateau, China, in the spring of 2008. The results showed two possible transportation paths of a sandstorm from May 1 to May 4 in 2008. In one path, sand-dust aerosols were transported toward the east from the Taklimakan Desert to the Badain Jaran Desert and the Tengger Desert by a westerly wind and then toward the southeast to Jingtai and Lanzhou. A weak aerosol index (AI) indicated another possible transport path toward the east from the Taklimakan Desert to the Qaidam Basin and through the Tibetan Plateau eastward to SACOL. The aerosol profile of sandstorm processes over the SACOL area displayed three patterns: a single peak distribution under stable at-mospheric conditions, indicating urban aerosol distribution; an exponential decrease under unstable atmospheric conditions in the presence of a sandstorm; and a slight change in the mixed layer during the first and last stages of the sandstorm, indicative of thorough mixing during lifting and deposition stages. Analyses of the aerosol layer height (ALH) showed that there are two types of ALH diurnal variation. The ALH during the first sandstorm stage was complex and disordered, and affected by atmospheric circulation. While the ALH had obvious diurnal variation in the other stage, the ALH and aerosol extinction coefficient (AEC) had a single peak, and was higher in the af-ternoon and lower in the morning. In the second case the ALH was in agreement with the atmospheric boundary layer height (BLH) variation. As a result of the development of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) during day and maintenance at night, ALH during sandstorm-free days showed obvious diurnal variations. Multiple vertical distribu-tion patterns of sand-dust aerosols will result in different climate effects; therefore, the vertical distribution patterns can be used to parameterize climate and aerosol models.

Key wordsLaudakia himalayana      L. pakistanica      L. tuberculat      L. badakhshana      Agamidae      Gilgit-Baltistan      Khunjerab National Park      Pakistan
Received: 24 February 2012      Published: 15 December 2012

The National Natural Science Foundation of China (40805009) and the Priority Academic Program Development (PAPD) of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

Corresponding Authors: Jie ZHANG     E-mail:;
Cite this article:

Jie ZHANG, XingMing LI. Vertical distribution of sand-dust aerosols and the relationships with atmospheric environment. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(4): 357-368.

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