Observations and measurement techniques

There are different observational techniques to detect aerosols (including mineral dust). To study the aerosol distribution and the composition of the aerosol, to distinguish dust from pollution for example, continuous observations with different techniques such as ground-based instruments, satellites and field experiments are required [1]. In general measurement techniques can be divided into two groups: in-situ measurements, which measure mineral dust locally, and remote measurements.

The in-situ instruments are ground based. To cover a bigger area, these ground based instruments are often united to networks (using the same or similar data processing techniques to be comparable).

In contrast, field campaigns are measurements done at an area and within a time of certain interest.

There are in-situ instruments which are important to measure aerosols, such as lidar, particular matter (PM) instruments and sun-photospectrometer. Multiwavelength lidar have the ability to assess dust structure and optical properties with high vertical resolution [2]. Together with sunphotometric measurements they are essential for the calculation of the microphysical aerosol properties in the vertical [3]. These in-situ measurements are important to gain information about the vertical profile of aerosols and for validation of the satellite data.

GAW Aerosol Lidar Observation Network (GALION) is established to provide the vertical component of this distribution through advanced laser remote sensing in a network of globally distributed ground-based stations. GALION is based on the cooperation between existing lidar networks (ALINE, AD-Net, CIS-LINET, CORALNet, EARLINET, NDACC, REALM/CREST, and MPLNET).


Distribution of GALION stations at the Northern hemisphere (cooperation networks in different colours: AD-NET violet, CISLiNet green, EARLINET red, MPLNET brown, NDACC white, REALM blue);

The Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) is a global network of ground based sunphotometers. It provides continuous observations of aerosol optical, physical and radiative properties such as aerosol optical depth (AOD), inversion products and precipitable water in diverse aerosol regimes.

Remote measurements are done by organizations such as NASA, ESA, JAXA and Chinese Satellite Meteorological Center.



[1] Y.J. Kaufman, D. Tanré, O. Boucher; Review article: A satellite view of aerosols in the climate system; Nature 419, p. 215-223; 2002

[2] C. Pérez, S. Nickovic, J.M. Baldasano, M. Sicard, F. Rocadenbosch, V.E. Cachorro; A long Saharan dust event over the western Mediterranean: Lidar, Sun photometer observations, and regional dust modeling; Journal of Geophysical Research 111; 2006

[3] D. Balis, V. Amiridis, S. Kazadzis, A. Papayannis, G. Tsaknakis, S. Tzortzakis, N. Kalivitis, M. Vrekoussis, M. Kanakidou, N. Mihalopoulos, G. Chourdakis, S. Nickovic, C. Pérez, J. Baldasano, M. Drakakis; Optical characteristics of desert dust over the East Mediterranean during summer: a case study; Annales Geophysicae 24, p. 807–821; 2006


Publication list in alphabetical order (including publications from above):

bibliography-measurement [pdf, 22 kB]





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