Variability of aerosol properties over Eastern Europe observed from ground and satellites in the period from 2003 to 2011
The paper presents some results of the study on aerosol variability in the period from 2003 to 2011 over the Eastern Europe region, with latitude ranging from 40N to 60N and longitude from 20E to 50E. The analysis was based on the POLDER/PARASOL and POLDER-2/ADEOS satellites and AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork) ground-based sun photometer observations. The aerosol optical thickness (AOT) of the studied area is characterized by values (referenced to 870 nm wavelength) ranging from 0.05 to 0.2, except for in the period of July–August 2010 with strong forest and peat wildfires when the AOT typical values range from 0.3 to 0.5 according to both retrievals. The analysis of seasonal dynamics of aerosol loading has revealed two AOT high value peaks. The spring peak observed in April– May is the result of solitary transportation of Saharan dust in the atmosphere over Eastern Europe, infrequent agricultural fires, transportation of sea salt aerosols by southern winds to Ukraine and Moldova from the Black and Azov seas. The autumn peak in August–September is associated with forest and peat wildfires, considerable transportation of Saharan dust and the presence of soil dust aerosols due to harvesting activity. The maximum values of AOT are observed in May 2006 (0.1–0.15), April 2009 (0.07–0.15) and August 2010 (0.2–0.5). Furthermore, the study has identified a distinct pattern of anthropogenic aerosols over the industrial areas, especially in central Ukraine and eastern Belarus as well as Moscow region in Russia. The comparison of the AOT derived by standard algorithm POLDER/PARASOL with those recomputed from AERONET inversions for fine mode particles with radius <0.3 μm was performed over several AERONET sites. The correlation coefficients for the POLDER/AERONET AOT retrieval comparisons are equal: 0.78 for Moscow site, 0.76 – Minsk, 0.86 – Belsk, 0.81 – Moldova (period 2005–2009), 0.93 – Kyiv and 0.63 for Sevastopol sites (2008–2009). The deviations are explained by the spatial inhomogeneity of the surface polarization that has a stronger effect on aerosol retrieval for clear atmospheric conditions with low aerosol loading when surface impact on satellite observations is more pronounced. In addition, the preliminary analysis of the detailed aerosol properties derived by a new generation PARASOL algorithm was evaluated. The comparison of AOT and single scattering albedo retrieved from the POLDER/PARASOL observations over Kyiv with the closest AERONET retrievals within 30 min of satellite overpass time and with a cloudless day shows acceptable agreement of the aerosol dynamics. The correspondence of those data is observed even for extreme AOT440 value 1.14, which was caused by the forest and peat fires in August 2010.