Articles | Volume 14, issue 2
Research article
29 Jan 2014
Research article |  | 29 Jan 2014

Wet and dry deposition of mineral dust particles in Japan: factors related to temporal variation and spatial distribution

K. Osada, S. Ura, M. Kagawa, M. Mikami, T. Y. Tanaka, S. Matoba, K. Aoki, M. Shinoda, Y. Kurosaki, M. Hayashi, A. Shimizu, and M. Uematsu

Abstract. Recent ground networks and satellite remote-sensing observations have provided useful data related to spatial and vertical distributions of mineral dust particles in the atmosphere. However, measurements of temporal variations and spatial distributions of mineral dust deposition fluxes are limited in terms of their duration, location, and processes of deposition. To ascertain temporal variations and spatial distributions of mineral dust deposition using wet and dry processes, weekly deposition samples were obtained at Sapporo, Toyama, Nagoya, Tottori, Fukuoka, and Cape Hedo (Okinawa) in Japan during October 2008–December 2010 using automatic wet and dry separating samplers. Mineral dust weights in water-insoluble residue were estimated from Fe contents measured using an X-ray fluorescence analyser. Wet and dry deposition fluxes of mineral dusts were both high in spring and low in summer, showing similar seasonal variations to frequency of aeolian dust events (Kosa) in Japan. For wet deposition, highest and lowest annual dust fluxes were found at Toyama (9.6 g m−2 yr−1) and at Cape Hedo (1.7 g m−2 yr−1) as average values in 2009 and 2010. Higher wet deposition fluxes were observed at Toyama and Tottori, where frequent precipitation (> 60% days per month) was observed during dusty seasons. For dry deposition among Toyama, Tottori, Fukuoka, and Cape Hedo, the highest and lowest annual dust fluxes were found respectively at Fukuoka (5.2 g m−2 yr−1) and at Cape Hedo (2.0 g m−2 yr−1) as average values in 2009 and 2010. The average ratio of wet and dry deposition fluxes was the highest at Toyama (3.3) and the lowest at Hedo (0.82), showing a larger contribution of the dry process at western sites, probably because of the distance from desert source regions and because of the effectiveness of the wet process in the dusty season.

Size distributions of refractory dust particles were obtained using four-stage filtration: > 20, > 10, > 5, and > 1 μm diameter. Weight fractions of the sum of > 20 μm and 10–20 μm (giant fraction) were higher than 50% for most of the event samples. Irrespective of the deposition type, the giant dust fractions generally decreased with increasing distance from the source area, suggesting the selective depletion of larger giant particles during atmospheric transport. Based on temporal variations of PMc (2.5 < D < 10 μm), ground-based lidar, backward air trajectories, and vertical profiles of potential temperatures, transport processes of dust particles are discussed for events with high-deposition and low-deposition flux with high PMc. Low dry dust depositions with high PMc concentrations were observed under stronger (5 K km−1) stratification of potential temperature with thinner and lower (< 2 km) dust distributions because the PMc fraction of dust particles only survived after depletion of giant dust particles by rapid gravitational settling at the time they reach Japan. In contrast, transport through a thicker (> 2 km) dust layer with weak vertical gradient of potential temperature carry more giant dust particles to Japan. Because giant dust particles are an important mass fraction of dust accumulation, especially in the North Pacific, which is known as a high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll (HNLC) region, the transport height and fraction of giant dust particles are important factors for studying dust budgets in the atmosphere and their role in biogeochemical cycles.

Final-revised paper