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Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München (2007)

Radiatively-driven processes in forest fire and desert dust plumes

Weinzierl, Bernadett Barbara

Titre : Radiatively-driven processes in forest fire and desert dust plumes

Auteur : Weinzierl, Bernadett Barbara

Université de soutenance : Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München

Grade : Doktorgrade 2007

The absorption of solar radiation by atmospheric aerosol particles is important for the climate effects of aerosols. Absorption by aerosol particles heats atmospheric layers, even though the net effect for the entire atmospheric column may still be a cooling. Most experimental studies on absorbing aerosols so far focussed mainly on the aerosol properties and did not consider the influence of the aerosols on the thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere. In this study, data from two international aircraft field experiments, the Intercontinental Transport of Ozone and Precursors study (ITOP) 2004 and the Saharan Mineral Dust Experiment (SAMUM) 2006 are investigated. The ITOP data were collected before the work on this thesis started, while the logistics and the instrument preparation of the SAMUM campaign, the weather forecast during SAMUM and the in-situ aerosol measurements during SAMUM were done within this thesis. The experimental data are used to explore the impact of layers containing absorbing forest fire and desert dust aerosol particles on the atmospheric stability and the implications of a changed stability on the development of the aerosol microphysical and optical properties during long-range transport. For the first time, vertical profiles of the Richardson number Ri are used to assess the stability and mixing in forest fire and desert dust plumes. Also for the first time, the conclusions drawn from the observations of forest fire and desert dust aerosol, at first glance apparently quite different aerosol types, are discussed from a common perspective. Two mechanisms, the self-stabilising and the sealed ageing effect, acting in both forest fire and desert dust aerosol layers, are proposed to explain the characteristic temperature structure as well as the aerosol properties observed in lofted forest fire and desert dust plumes. The proposed effects impact on the ageing of particles within the plumes and reduce the plume dilution, therefore extending the plume lifetime.
This study combines experimental data, modelling of optical parameters and calculated heating rates to assess the role of forest fire and desert dust plumes. The microphysical, optical and chemical properties of forest fire and desert dust aerosol, and their vertical distribution, were measured with multiple instruments on the DLR Falcon 20-E5 research aircraft during ITOP and SAMUM. Aerosol size information and absorption data were analysed with respect to the aerosol mixing state, effective diameter and parameterisation of forest fire and dust size distributions. Altogether, about 90 size distributions for particles from different sources were extracted from multiple instruments and parameterised with multi-modal log-normal distributions. Subsequently, the optical properties were calculated for the different aerosol layers and compared with other independent measurements of the optical properties like the extinction coefficient determined with a High Spectral Resolution Lidar. The aerosol optical properties serve as the basis for the radiative transfer calculations with libRadtran (library for radiative transfer). Finally, the aerosol microphysical and optical properties, the meteorological data and the heating rates are examined to investigate the proposed self-stabilising and sealed ageing effects.


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