An overview of the first decade of PollyNET: an emerging network of automated Raman-polarization lidars for continuous aerosol profiling
Van Zyl, Pieter Gideon
Beukes, Johan Paul
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A global vertically resolved aerosol data set covering more than 10 years of observations at more than 20 measurement sites distributed from 63 N to 52 S and 72 W to 124 E has been achieved within the Raman and polarization lidar network PollyNET. This network consists of portable, remote-controlled multiwavelength-polarization-Raman lidars (Polly) for automated and continuous 24/7 observations of clouds and aerosols. PollyNET is an independent, voluntary, and scientific network. All Polly lidars feature a standardized instrument design with different capabilities ranging from single wavelength to multiwavelength systems, and now apply unified calibration, quality control, and data analysis. The observations are processed in near-real time without manual intervention, and are presented online at polly.tropos.de. The paper gives an overview of the observations on four continents and two research vessels obtained with eight Polly systems. The specific aerosol types at these locations (mineral dust, smoke, dust-smoke and other dusty mixtures, urban haze, and volcanic ash) are identified by their Ångström exponent, lidar ratio, and depolarization ratio. The vertical aerosol distribution at the PollyNET locations is discussed on the basis of more than 55 000 automatically retrieved 30 min particle backscatter coefficient profiles at 532 nm as this operating wavelength is available for all Polly lidar systems. A seasonal analysis of measurements at selected sites revealed typical and extraordinary aerosol conditions as well as seasonal differences. These studies show the potential of PollyNET to support the establishment of a global aerosol climatology that covers the entire troposphere.