Articles | Volume 34, issue 11
Ann. Geophys., 34, 1031–1044, 2016
Ann. Geophys., 34, 1031–1044, 2016

Regular paper 17 Nov 2016

Regular paper | 17 Nov 2016

Analysis of aerosol absorption properties and transport over North Africa and the Middle East using AERONET data

Ashraf Farahat1,2, Hesham El-Askary3,4,5, Peter Adetokunbo6, and Abu-Tharr Fuad7 Ashraf Farahat et al.
  • 1Department of Prep Year Physics, College of Applied and Supporting Studies, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
  • 2Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Moharam Beek, Alexandria University, Alexandria, 21522, Egypt
  • 3Center of Excellence in Earth Systems Modeling and Observations, Chapman University, Orange, CA 92866, USA
  • 4Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University, CA 92866, USA
  • 5Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Moharam Beek, Alexandria University, Alexandria, 21522, Egypt
  • 6Department of Geology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA
  • 7Department of Chemistry and Earth Science, College of Arts & Science, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar

Abstract. In this paper particle categorization and absorption properties were discussed to understand transport mechanisms at different geographic locations and possible radiative impacts on climate. The long-term Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) data set (1999–2015) is used to estimate aerosol optical depth (AOD), single scattering albedo (SSA), and the absorption Ångström exponent (αabs) at eight locations in North Africa and the Middle East. Average variation in SSA is calculated at four wavelengths (440, 675, 870, and 1020 nm), and the relationship between aerosol absorption and physical properties is used to infer dominant aerosol types at different locations. It was found that seasonality and geographic location play a major role in identifying dominant aerosol types at each location. Analyzing aerosol characteristics among different sites using AERONET Version 2, Level 2.0 data retrievals and the Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory model (HYSPLIT) backward trajectories shows possible aerosol particle transport among different locations indicating the importance of understanding transport mechanisms in identifying aerosol sources.

Short summary
The Middle East capitals are subjected to numerous dust storms along with local emissions and/or those transported from biomass burning or industrial activities. A combination of these aerosols results in poor air quality and poses significant health hazards. We investigated the transport of aerosols and their impact on the air quality using different parameters derived from the AERONET ground observations.