Volcanic aerosol optical properties and phase partitioning behavior after long-range advection characterized by UV-Lidar measurements

A. Miffre, G. David, B. Thomas, P. Rairoux, A. M. Fjaeraa, N. I. Kristiansen, A. Stohl

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In this paper, an UV-polarization Lidar is used to study the optical properties of volcanic aerosol in the troposphere. The particles were released by the mid-April 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano (63.63°N, 19.62°W, Iceland) and passed in the troposphere above Lyon (45.76°N, 4.83°E, France) after advection over 2600km. The FLEXPART particle dispersion model was applied to simulate the volcanic ash transport from Iceland to South West Europe, at the border of the air traffic closure area. Time-altitude plots of FLEXPART ash concentrations as well as of aerosol backscattering are presented, showing the arrival of volcanic particles in the troposphere above Lyon and their mixing into the planetary boundary layer. The particle UV-backscattering coefficient was typically 4Mm -1sr -1 and highly sensitive and accurate particle UV-depolarization measurements were performed, with depolarization ranging from a few to 44%. After few days long-range transport, observed ash particles are still non spherical. The observed variations of the backscattering and depolarization coefficients can be attributed to variations in the volcanic particles content. Ash mass concentrations are then retrieved. Moreover, a partitioning into spherical and non spherical particles is evaluated from number concentration ratios between solid ash particles and spherical hydrated sulfate particles. The microphysical properties of volcanic particles can thus be studied by associating an UV-polarization remote sensing instrument with a numerical volcanic ash dispersion model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-84
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


  • Depolarization
  • Dispersion model
  • Lidar
  • Volcanic ash


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