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Gutleben, Manuel; Gross, Silke; Heske, Christian and Wirth, Martin (2022): Wintertime Saharan dust transport towards the Caribbean: an airborne lidar case study during EUREC(4)A. In: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 22, No. 11: pp. 7319-7330

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Wintertime Saharan dust plumes in the vicinity of Barbados are investigated by means of airborne lidar measurements. The measurements were conducted in the framework of the EUREC(4)A (Elucidating the Role of Cloud-Circulation Coupling in Climate) field experiment upstream the Caribbean island in January-February 2020. The combination of the water vapor differential absorption and high spectral resolution lidar techniques together with dropsonde measurements aboard the German HALO (High Altitude and Long-Range) research aircraft enable a detailed vertical and horizontal characterization of the measured dust plumes. In contrast to summertime dust transport, mineral dust aerosols were transported at lower altitudes and were always located below 3.5 km. Calculated backward trajectories affirm that the dust-laden layers have been transported in nearly constant low-level altitude over the North Atlantic Ocean. Only mixtures of dust particles with other aerosol species, i.e., biomass-burning aerosol from fires in West Africa and marine aerosol, were detected by the lidar. No pure mineral dust regimes were observed. Additionally, all the dust-laden air masses that were observed during EUREC(4)A came along with enhanced water vapor concentrations compared with the free atmosphere above. Such enhancements have already been observed during summertime and were found to have a great impact on radiative transfer and atmospheric stability.

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