Millions of tons of mineral dust are lifted by the wind from arid surfaces and transported around the globe every year. The physical and chemical properties of the mineral dust are needed to better constrain remote sensing observations and are of fundamental importance for the understanding of dust atmospheric processes. Ground-based in situ measurements and in situ filter collection of Saharan dust were obtained during the Fennec campaign in the central Sahara in 2011. This paper presents results of the absorption and scattering coefficients, and hence single scattering albedo (SSA), of the Saharan dust measured in real time during the last period of the campaign and subsequent laboratory analysis of the dust samples collected in two supersites, SS1 and SS2, in Algeria and in Mauritania, respectively. The samples were taken to the laboratory, where their size and aspect ratio distributions, mean chemical composition, spectral mass absorption efficiency, and spectral imaginary refractive index were obtained from the ultraviolet (UV) to the near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths. At SS1 in Algeria, the time series of the scattering coefficients during the period of the campaign show dust events exceeding 3500 Mm−1, and a relatively high mean SSA of 0.995 at 670 nm was observed at this site. The laboratory results show for the fine particle size distributions (particles diameter < 5µm and mode diameter at 2–3 µm) in both sites a spectral dependence of the imaginary part of the refractive index Im(m) with a bow-like shape, with increased absorption in UV as well as in the shortwave infrared. The same signature was not observed, however, in the mixed particle size distribution (particle diameter < 10 µm and mode diameter at 4 µm) in Algeria. Im(m) was found to range from 0.011 to 0.001i for dust collected in Algeria and 0.008 to 0.002i for dust collected in Mauritania over the wavelength range of 350–2500 nm. Differences in the mean elemental composition of the dust collected in the supersites in Algeria and in Mauritania and between fine and mixed particle size distributions were observed from EDXRF measurements, although those differences cannot be used to explain the optical properties variability between the samples. Finally, particles with low-density typically larger than 10 µm in diameter were found in some of the samples collected at the supersite in Mauritania, but these low-density particles were not observed in Algeria.
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Rocha-Lima, A., Martins, J. V., Remer, L. A., Todd, M., Marsham, J. H., Engelstaedter, S., Ryder, C. L., Cavazos Guerra, C., Artaxo, P., Colarco, P., & Washington, R. (2018). A detailed characterization of the Saharan dust collected during the Fennec campaign in 2011: in situ ground-based and laboratory measurements. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 18(2), 1023-1043. doi:10.5194/acp-18-1023-2018.
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