Lidar measurements were performed in the framework of the EARLINET project during the last eruptions (July–August 2001 and November 2002) of the Etna volcano. Both aerosol backscattering and extinction coefficients show the presence of remarkable aerosol layers in central and especially in southern Europe during the Etna eruptions periods. The aerosol layer altitudes ranged from 1 to 6 km. Back-trajectory, lidar ratio and backscatter related Angstrom coefficient analyses show that most of the aerosol layers originated from the Etna eruption and were made of sulfates and small absorbing volcanic ash. Thanks to the EARLINET network, the space and temporal distributions of volcanic aerosol have been studied over continental scale.
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