Articles | Volume 16, issue 18
Research article
20 Sep 2016
Research article |  | 20 Sep 2016

Saharan dust long-range transport across the Atlantic studied by an airborne Doppler wind lidar and the MACC model

Fernando Chouza, Oliver Reitebuch, Angela Benedetti, and Bernadett Weinzierl

Abstract. A huge amount of dust is transported every year from north Africa into the Caribbean region. This paper presents an investigation of this long-range transport process based on airborne Doppler wind lidar (DWL) measurements conducted during the SALTRACE campaign (June–July 2013), as well as an evaluation of the ability of the MACC (Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate) global aerosol model to reproduce it and its associated features. Although both the modeled winds from MACC and the measurements from the DWL show a generally good agreement, some differences, particularly in the African easterly jet (AEJ) intensity, were noted. The observed differences between modeled and measured wind jet speeds are between 5 and 10 m s−1. The vertical aerosol distribution within the Saharan dust plume and the marine boundary layer is investigated during the June–July 2013 period based on the MACC aerosol model results and the CALIOP satellite lidar measurements. While the modeled Saharan dust plume extent shows a good agreement with the measurements, a systematic underestimation of the marine boundary layer extinction is observed.

Additionally, three selected case studies covering different aspects of the Saharan dust long-range transport along the west African coast, over the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean are presented. For the first time, DWL measurements are used to investigate the Saharan dust long-range transport. Simultaneous wind and backscatter measurements from the DWL are used, in combination with the MACC model, to analyze different features associated with the long-range transport, including an African easterly wave trough, the AEJ and the intertropical convergence zone.

Final-revised paper