Seasonal variability of aerosol optical properties observed by means of a Raman lidar at an EARLINET site over Northeastern Spain
The annual and seasonal variability of aerosol optical properties observed by means of a Raman lidar over Northeastern Spain has been assessed. The lidar representativeness has first been checked against sun-photometer measurements in terms of aerosol optical thickness. Then the annual cycle and the seasonal variability of the planetary boundary layer aerosol optical thickness and its fraction compared to the columnar optical thickness, the lidar ratio, the backscatter-related Angstrom exponent and the planetary boundary layer height are analyzed and discussed. Winter and summer mean profiles of extinction, backscatter and lidar ratio retrieved with the Raman algorithm are presented. The analysis shows the impact of most of the natural events (Saharan dust intrusions, wildfires, etc.) and meteorological situations (summer anticyclonic situation, the formation of the Iberian thermal low, winter long-range transport from North Europe and/or North America, re-circulation flows, etc.) occurring in the Barcelona area. A detailed study of a special event including a combined intrusion of Saharan dust and biomass-burning particles proves the suitability of combining the retrieval of aerosol optical properties from Raman and pure elastic lidar measurements to discriminate spatially different types of aerosols and to follow their spatial and temporal evolution.