Influx of aerosols from the mid-latitudes has a wide range of impacts on the Arctic atmosphere. In this study, the capability of the CALIPSO-CALIOP instrument to provide accurate observations of aerosol layers is exploited to characterize their vertical distribution, probability density functions (PDFs) of aerosol layer thickness, base and top heights, and optical depths over the Arctic for the 4-yr period from June 2006 to May 2010. It is shown that the bulk of aerosols, from about 65% in winter to 45% in summer, are confined below the lowermost kilometer of the troposphere. In the middle troposphere (3-5 km), spring and autumn seasons show slightly higher aerosol amounts compared to other two seasons. The relative vertical distribution of aerosols shows that clean continental aerosol is the largest contributor in all seasons except in summer, when layers of polluted continental aerosols are almost as large. In winter and spring, polluted continental aerosols are the second largest contributor to the total number of observed aerosol layers, whereas clean marine aerosol is the second largest contributor in summer and autumn. The PDFs of the geometrical thickness of the observed aerosol layers peak about 400-700 m. Polluted continental and smoke aerosols, which are associated with the intrusions from mid-latitudes, have much broader distributions of optical and geometrical thicknesses, suggesting that they appear more often optically thicker and higher up in the troposphere.
2011. Vol. 63, no 1, 86-95 p.