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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  15 Jun 2020

15 Jun 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Revisiting the Relationship between Atlantic Dust and Tropical Cyclone Activity using Aerosol Optical Depth Reanalyses: 2003–2018

Peng Xian1,, Philip J. Klotzbach2,, Jason P. Dunion3, Matthew A. Janiga1, Jeffrey S. Reid1, Peter R. Colarco4, and Zak Kipling5 Peng Xian et al.
  • 1Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA, USA
  • 2Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • 3University of Miami/RSMAS/CIMAS – NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, FL, USA
  • 4NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 5European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Previous studies have noted a relationship between African dust and Atlantic tropical cyclone (TC) activity. However, due to the limitations of past dust analyses, the strength of this relationship remains uncertain. The emergence of aerosol reanalyses, including the Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System (NAAPS) Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) reanalysis, NASA Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version-2 (MERRA-2) and ECMWF Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service reanalysis (CAMSRA) enable an investigation of the relationship between African dust and TC activity over the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean in a consistent temporal and spatial manner for 2003–2018. Although June-July-August (JJA) 550 nm dust AOD (DAOD) from all three reanalysis products correlate significantly over the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, the difference in DAOD magnitude between products can be as large as 60 % over the Caribbean and 20 % over the tropical North Atlantic. Based on the three individual reanalyses, we have created an aerosol multi-reanalysis-consensus (MRC). The MRC presents overall better root mean square error over the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean compared to individual reanalyses when verified with ground-based AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) AOD measurements. Each of the three individual reanalyses and the MRC have significant negative correlations between JJA Caribbean DAOD and seasonal Atlantic Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), while the correlation between JJA tropical North Atlantic DAOD and seasonal ACE is weaker. Possible reasons for this regional difference are provided. A composite analysis of three high versus three low JJA Caribbean DAOD years reveals large differences in overall Atlantic TC activity. We also show that JJA Caribbean DAOD is significantly correlated with large-scale fields associated with variability in interannual Atlantic TC activity including zonal wind shear, mid-level moisture and SST, as well as ENSO and the Atlantic Meridional Mode (AMM), implying confounding effects of these factors on the dust-TC relationship. Further analysis indicates that seasonal Atlantic DAOD and the AMM, the leading mode of coupled Atlantic variability, are inversely related and intertwined in the dust-TC relationship.

Peng Xian et al.

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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Using dust AOD (DAOD) data from three aerosol reanalyses, we explored the correlative relationships between DAOD and multiple indices representing seasonal Atlantic TC activities. A robust negative correlation with Caribbean DAOD and Atlantic TC activity was found. We documented for the first time the regional differences of this relationship for over the Caribbean and the Tropical North Atlantic. We also evaluated the impacts of potential confounding climate factors in this relationship.
Using dust AOD (DAOD) data from three aerosol reanalyses, we explored the correlative...