An improved dust emission model – Part 1: Model description and comparison against measurements
Abstract. Simulations of the dust cycle and its interactions with the changing Earth system are hindered by the empirical nature of dust emission parameterizations in weather and climate models. Here we take a step towards improving dust cycle simulations by using a combination of theory and numerical simulations to derive a physically based dust emission parameterization. Our parameterization is straightforward to implement into large-scale models, as it depends only on the wind friction velocity and the soil's threshold friction velocity. Moreover, it accounts for two processes missing from most existing parameterizations: a soil's increased ability to produce dust under saltation bombardment as it becomes more erodible, and the increased scaling of the dust flux with wind speed as a soil becomes less erodible. Our treatment of both these processes is supported by a compilation of quality-controlled vertical dust flux measurements. Furthermore, our scheme reproduces this measurement compilation with substantially less error than the existing dust flux parameterizations we were able to compare against. A critical insight from both our theory and the measurement compilation is that dust fluxes are substantially more sensitive to the soil's threshold friction velocity than most current schemes account for.