Long-range-transported Canadian smoke plumes in the lower stratosphere over northern France
Long-range-transported Canadian smoke layers in the stratosphere over northern France were detected by three lidar systems in August 2017. The peaked optical depth of the stratospheric smoke layer exceeds 0.20 at 532 nm, which is comparable with the simultaneous tropospheric aerosol optical depth. The measurements of satellite sensors revealed that the observed stratospheric smoke plumes were transported from Canadian wildfires after being lofted by strong pyro-cumulonimbus. Case studies at two observation sites, Lille (lat 50.612, long 3.142, 60 m a.s.l.) and Palaiseau (lat 48.712, long 2.215, 156 m a.s.l.), are presented in detail. Smoke particle depolarization ratios are measured at three wavelengths: over 0.20 at 355 nm, 0.18-0.19 at 532 nm, and 0.04-0.05 at 1064 nm. The high depolarization ratios and their spectral dependence are possibly caused by the irregular-shaped aged smoke particles and/or the mixing with dust particles. Similar results are found by several European lidar stations and an explanation that can fully resolve this question has not yet been found. Aerosol inversion based on lidar 2 alpha + 3 beta data derived a smoke effective radius of about 0.33 mu m for both cases. The retrieved single-scattering albedo is in the range of 0.8 to 0.9, indicating that the smoke plumes are absorbing. The absorption can cause perturbations to the temperature vertical profile, as observed by ground-based radiosonde, and it is also related to the ascent of the smoke plumes when exposed in sunlight. A direct radiative forcing (DRF) calculation is performed using the obtained optical and microphysical properties. The calculation revealed that the smoke plumes in the stratosphere can significantly reduce the radiation arriving at the surface, and the heating rate of the plumes is about 3.5 K day(-1). The study provides a valuable characterization for aged smoke in the stratosphere, but efforts are still needed in reducing and quantifying the errors in the retrieved microphysical properties as well as radiative forcing estimates.