Articles | Volume 14, issue 5
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 2245–2266, 2014

Special issue: Desert dust and its impact on air quality and climate

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 2245–2266, 2014

Research article 04 Mar 2014

Research article | 04 Mar 2014

Mass deposition fluxes of Saharan mineral dust to the tropical northeast Atlantic Ocean: an intercomparison of methods

N. Niedermeier1, A. Held2, T. Müller1, B. Heinold1,*, K. Schepanski1,*, I. Tegen1, K. Kandler3, M. Ebert3, S. Weinbruch3, K. Read4,5, J. Lee4,5, K. W. Fomba1, K. Müller1, H. Herrmann1, and A. Wiedensohler1 N. Niedermeier et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
  • 3Institute for Applied Geosciences, Darmstadt University of Technology, Darmstadt, Germany
  • 4Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, UK
  • 5National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of York, York, UK
  • *formerly at: School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Abstract. Mass deposition fluxes of mineral dust to the tropical northeast Atlantic Ocean were determined within this study. In the framework of SOPRAN (Surface Ocean Processes in the Anthropocene), the interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean in terms of material exchange were investigated at the Cape Verde atmospheric observatory (CVAO) on the island Sao Vicente for January 2009. Five different methods were applied to estimate the deposition flux, using different meteorological and physical measurements, remote sensing, and regional dust transport simulations. The set of observations comprises micrometeorological measurements with an ultra-sonic anemometer and profile measurements using 2-D anemometers at two different heights, and microphysical measurements of the size-resolved mass concentrations of mineral dust. In addition, the total mass concentration of mineral dust was derived from absorption photometer observations and passive sampling. The regional dust model COSMO-MUSCAT was used for simulations of dust emission and transport, including dry and wet deposition processes. This model was used as it describes the AOD's and mass concentrations realistic compared to the measurements and because it was run for the time period of the measurements. The four observation-based methods yield a monthly average deposition flux of mineral dust of 12–29 ng m−2 s−1. The simulation results come close to the upper range of the measurements with an average value of 47 ng m−2 s−1. It is shown that the mass deposition flux of mineral dust obtained by the combination of micrometeorological (ultra-sonic anemometer) and microphysical measurements (particle mass size distribution of mineral dust) is difficult to compare to modeled mass deposition fluxes when the mineral dust is inhomogeneously distributed over the investigated area.

Final-revised paper