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Submitted on behalf of a user.


I am using Level 2 aerosol profile (CALIPSO) data products for finding frequency of aerosol subtype over my study area. The data has been downloaded from

It was observed that smoke had the highest frequency among other sub type aerosols over my study region.

Can you please help me to identify the type of smoke it is?

1) Is this smoke emitted from Biomass burning in the region?

2) Is this smoke emitted from Fossil fuel burning in the region?

3) Or just it is enough to say that it is the smoke generated from anthropogenic emission in the region.

Your kind help will be highly appreciated and acknowledged.

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  1. Aerosol classified as smoke by CALIOP can be due to both biomass burning and fossil fuel emission because it is identified as non-depolarizing, elevated aerosol. Based on this simple definition, it is difficult to further sub-divide the smoke classification into that of fossil fuels or biomass burning. We have found that the optical properties measured by CALIOP are extremely similar between these categories, hence the simple identification procedure.

    One attribute which sets biomass burning apart from anthropogenic pollution is that combustion-induced buoyance tends to lift smoke from intense biomass burning above the planetary boundary layer. Therefore, non-depolarizing aerosol is classified as elevated smoke in the CALIOP aerosol subtyping procedure if the layer top is above 2.5 km (in version 4 level 2 products). On the other hand, smoke within the planetary boundary layer (assumed at 2.5 km AGL) is indistinguishable from anthropogenic pollution so it is classified as “polluted continental/smoke” because it could be either aerosol type or a mixture of the two. For more how smoke is identified by CALIOP, see the Omar et al. 2009 reference below.

    Most researchers use ancillary information for their study regions to attribute smoke identified by CALIOP to a particular source. For example, emissions inventories, MODIS fire counts, HYSPLIT back trajectories and so on can be used to statistically characterize dominant aerosol sources within a region or to identify specific sources/events.

    Omar, A. H., Winker, D. M., Vaughan, M. A., Hu, Y., Trepte, C. R., Ferrare, R. A., Lee, K. P., Hostetler, C. A., Kittaka, C., Rogers, R. R., and Kuehn, R. E. The CALIPSO Automated Aerosol Classification and Lidar Ratio Selection Algorithm, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 26(10), 1994-2014, doi:10.1175/2009JTECHA1231.1, 2009.