Ghomashi, F; Khalesifard, HR (2020). Investigation and characterization of atmospheric aerosols over the Urmia Lake using the satellite data and synoptic recordings. ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTION RESEARCH, 11(11), 2076-2086.

The Urmia Lake, a hypersaline lake in Northwest Iran is facing a severe drying scenario. The dried part of the lake can act as a source of salt particles that may contaminate the atmosphere of the lake and its surrounding regions. We used the CALIPSO satellite recordings on particulate depolarization ratio (PDR) and aerosol optical depth (AOD) at 532 nm as well as MODIS AOD at 550 nm during June 2006 to December 2017, to characterize the atmospheric aerosols over the Urmia Lake water catchment region. By monitoring the aerosol layer height that is retrieved from the CALIPSO recordings, we found that most of the dust layers over the Urmia Lake, are transported from the neighboring sources. The mean PDR value for the aerosol layers that are in contact with the lake surface during dry months is similar to 0.16 +/- 0.03 but for dense dust layers, high above the mountain ranges, this is similar to 0.19 +/- 0.04. This study shows that the Urmia Lake is a minor source of atmospheric mineral particles and is very much under the influence of other major neighboring dust sources. Even though it is not easy to distinguish between transported dust layers and particles that may originate from the lake, our investigations show that the lake is mostly active during the driest times of the year, i.e., June to September. During these times, the PDR for the aerosols that are appearing in the vicinity of the dried lake bed is very close to that of dry salt particles.