320 Comparing dusty clouds from Northwest China and the Sahara using CALIPSO

Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Hongchun Jin, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China; and J. Huang and Y. Yi

Dust aerosols and cloud contribute some of the largest uncertainties to radiative effects and climate feedbacks. Previous studies have shown that dusty clouds (a combination of dust aerosols and cloud) occur frequently in the Taklimakan and Sahara deserts, two major sources of dust aerosols. Dusty clouds present critical difficulties to passive satellite remote sensing because dust aerosols often mix or underlie clouds and can have complicated microphysical and optical properties. The dusty clouds can lead to significant uncertainties in determining radiative forcing as well as greatly impacting the semi-arid and arid climate. In this study, we introduce recent analyses of dusty clouds using vertical profiles of aerosols and clouds from CALIPSO satellite observations. We will use six years of CALIPSO data and focus on the similarities and differences between dusty clouds from the Taklimakan and Sahara desert regions. We are particularly interested in the frequency of occurrence and seasonal variations of dusty clouds, cloud layer and dust layer geometrical heights and thicknesses, and the vertical distribution of the mixed layer.
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