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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2010, Article ID 168346, 15 pages
Research Article

Identification of the Aerosol Types over Athens, Greece: The Influence of Air-Mass Transport

1Atmospheric Research Team, Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, Lofos Nymphon, P.O. Box 20048, 11810 Athens, Greece
2Department of Geology and Geo-Environment, University of Athens, University Campus, 15784 Zografou, Greece

Received 27 June 2009; Revised 4 September 2009; Accepted 3 October 2009

Academic Editor: Krishnaswamy Krishnamoorthy

Copyright © 2010 D. G. Kaskaoutis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aerosol optical depth at 550 nm ( A O D 5 5 0 ) and fine-mode (FM) fraction data from Terra-MODIS were obtained over the Greater Athens Area covering the period February 2000–December 2005. Based on both A O D 5 5 0 and FM values three main aerosol types have been discriminated corresponding to urban/industrial aerosols, clean maritime conditions, and coarse-mode, probably desert dust, particles. Five main sectors were identified for the classification of the air-mass trajectories, which were further used in the analysis of the ( A O D 5 5 0 and FM data for the three aerosol types). The HYSPLIT model was used to compute back trajectories at three altitudes to investigate the relation between A O D 5 5 0 -FM and wind sector depending on the altitude. The accumulation of local pollution is favored in spring and corresponds to air masses at lower altitudes originating from Eastern Europe and the Balkan. Clean maritime conditions are rare over Athens, limited in the winter season and associated with air masses from the Western or Northwestern sector. The coarse-mode particles origin seems to be more complicated proportionally to the season. Thus, in summer the Northern sector dominates, while in the other seasons, and especially in spring, the air masses belong to the Southern sector enriched with Saharan dust aerosols.