© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Aerosol events in the broader Mediterranean basin based on 7-year (2000–2007) MODIS C005 data
1Laboratory of Meteorology, Department of Physics, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece
2Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
3Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Crete, 71300 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Abstract. Aerosol events (their frequency and intensity) in the broader Mediterranean basin were studied using 7-year (2000–2007) aerosol data of optical depth (AOD at 550 nm) from the MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Terra.
The complete spatial coverage of data revealed a significant spatial variability of aerosol events which is also dependent on their intensity. Strong events occur more often in the western and central Mediterranean basin (up to 14 events/year) whereas extreme events (AOD up to 5.0) are systematically observed in the eastern Mediterranean basin throughout the year. There is also a significant seasonal variability with strong aerosol events occurring most frequently in the western part of the basin in summer and extreme episodes in the eastern part during spring. The events were also analyzed separately over land and sea revealing differences that are due to the different natural and anthropogenic processes, like dust transport (producing maximum frequencies of extreme episodes in spring over both land and sea) or forest fires (producing maximum frequencies in strong episodes in summer over land). The inter-annual variability shows a gradual decrease in the frequency of all aerosol episodes over land and sea areas of the Mediterranean during the period 2000–2007, associated with an increase in their intensity (increased AOD values). The strong spatiotemporal variability of aerosol events indicates the need for monitoring them at the highest spatial and temporal coverage and resolution.