Three-dimensional structure of aerosol in China: A perspective from multi-satellite observations

Jianping Guo, Huan Liu, Fu Wang, Jingfeng Huang, Feng Xia, Mengyun Lou, Yerong Wu, Jonathan H. Jiang, Tao Xie, Yangzong Zhaxi, Yuk L. Yung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Using eight years (2006-2014) of passive (MODIS/Aqua and OMI/Aura) and active (CALIOP/CALIPSO) satellite measurements of aerosols, we yield a three-dimensional (3D) distribution of the frequency of occurrence (FoO) of aerosols over China. As an indicator of the vertical heterogeneity of aerosol layers detected by CALIOP, two types of Most Probable Height (MPH), including MPH_FoO and MPH_AOD, are deduced. The FoO of "Total Aerosol" reveals significant geographical dependence. Eastern China showed much stronger aerosol FoD than northwestern China. The FoO vertical structures of aerosol layer are strongly dependent on altitudes. Among the eight typical ROIs analyzed, aerosol layers over the Gobi Desert have the largest occurrence probability located at an altitude as high as 2.83 km, as compared to 1.26 km over Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei. The diurnal variation (nighttime-daytime) in MPH_AOD varies from an altitude as low as 0.07 km over the Sichuan basin to 0.27 km over the Gobi Desert, whereas the magnitude of the diurnal variation in terms of MPH_AOD is six times as large as the MPH_FoO, mostly attributable to the day/night lidar SNR difference. Also, the 3D distribution of dust and smoke aerosols was presented. The multi-sensor synergized 3D observations of dust aerosols, frequently observed in the zonal belt of 38°N-45°N, is markedly different from that of smoke aerosols that are predominantly located in the eastern and southern parts. The 3D FoO distribution of dust indicates a west-to-east passageway of dust originating from the westernmost Taklimakan Desert all the way to North China Plain (NCP). The findings from the multi-sensor synergetic observations greatly improved our understanding on the long-range aerosol dispersion, transport and passageway over China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-589
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • China
  • Dust
  • Frequency of occurrence
  • Smoke

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