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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Desert dust interacts with virtually every component of the Earth system, including the climate system. We develop a new methodology to represent the global dust cycle that integrates observational constraints on the properties and abundance of desert dust with global atmospheric model simulations. We show that the resulting representation of the global dust cycle is more accurate than can be obtained from a large number of current climate global atmospheric models.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1131
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1131

  23 Nov 2020

23 Nov 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Improved representation of the global dust cycle using observational constraints on dust properties and abundance

Jasper F. Kok1, Adeyemi A. Adebiyi1, Samuel Albani2,3, Yves Balkanski3, Ramiro Checa-Garcia3, Mian Chin4, Peter R. Colarco4, Douglas Stephen Hamilton5, Yue Huang1, Akinori Ito6, Martina Klose7, Danny M. Leung1, Longlei Li5, Natalie M. Mahowald5, Ron L. Miller8, Vincenzo Obiso7,8, Carlos Pérez García-Pando7,9, Adriana Rocha-Lima10,11, Jessica S. Wan5, and Chloe A. Whicker1 Jasper F. Kok et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
  • 2Department of Environmental and Earth Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy
  • 3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ-UPSaclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 4Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 5Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
  • 6Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences, JAMSTEC, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0001, Japan
  • 7Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), 08034 Barcelona, Spain
  • 8NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York NY10025 USA
  • 9ICREA, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
  • 10Physics Department, UMBC, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • 11Joint Center Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, UMBC, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Abstract. Even though desert dust is the most abundant aerosol by mass in Earth's atmosphere, atmospheric models struggle to accurately represent its spatial and temporal distribution. These model errors are partially caused by fundamental difficulties in simulating dust emission in coarse-resolution models and in accurately representing dust microphysical properties. Here we mitigate these problems by developing a new methodology that yields an improved representation of the global dust cycle. We present an analytical framework that uses inverse modeling to integrate an ensemble of global model simulations with observational constraints on the dust size distribution, extinction efficiency, and regional dust aerosol optical depth. We then compare the inverse model results against independent measurements of dust surface concentration and deposition flux and find that errors are reduced by approximately a factor of two relative to current model simulations of the Northern Hemisphere dust cycle. The inverse model results show smaller improvements in the less dusty Southern Hemisphere, most likely because both the model simulations and the observational constraints used in the inverse model are less accurate. On a global basis, we find that the emission flux of dust with geometric diameter up to 20 μm (PM20) is approximately 5,000 Tg/year, which is greater than most models account for. This larger PM20 dust flux is needed to match observational constraints showing a large atmospheric loading of coarse dust. We obtain gridded data sets of dust emission, vertically integrated loading, dust aerosol optical depth, (surface) concentration, and wet and dry deposition fluxes that are resolved by season and particle size. As our results indicate that this data set is more accurate than current model simulations and the MERRA-2 dust reanalysis product, it can be used to improve quantifications of dust impacts on the Earth system.

Jasper F. Kok et al.

 
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Jasper F. Kok et al.

Jasper F. Kok et al.

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Short summary
Desert dust interacts with virtually every component of the Earth system, including the climate system. We develop a new methodology to represent the global dust cycle that integrates observational constraints on the properties and abundance of desert dust with global atmospheric model simulations. We show that the resulting representation of the global dust cycle is more accurate than can be obtained from a large number of current climate global atmospheric models.
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