Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-941
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-941

  05 Jan 2022

05 Jan 2022

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

Aerosol Atmospheric Rivers: Climatology, Event Characteristics, and Detection Algorithm Sensitivities

Sudip Chakraborty1, Bin Guan1,2, Duane Waliser1, and Arlindo da Silva3 Sudip Chakraborty et al.
  • 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 2Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 3Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA

Abstract. Leveraging the concept of atmospheric rivers (ARs), a detection technique based on a widely utilized global algorithm to detect ARs (Guan et al., 2018; Guan and Waliser, 2015, 2019) was recently developed to detect aerosol atmospheric rivers (AARs) using the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 reanalysis (Chakraborty et al., 2021a). The current study further characterizes and quantifies various details of AARs that were not provided in that study, such as AARs’ seasonality, event characteristics, vertical profiles of aerosol mass mixing ratio and wind speed, and the fraction of total annual aerosol transport conducted by AARs. Analysis is also performed to quantify the sensitivity of AAR detection to the criteria and thresholds used by the algorithm. AARs occur more frequently over, and typically extend from, regions with higher aerosol emission. For a number of planetary-scale pathways that exhibit large climatological aerosol transport, AARs contribute 40–80 % to the total annual transport. DU AARs are more frequent in boreal spring, SS AARs are often more frequent during the boreal winter (summer) in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere, CA AARs are more frequent during dry seasons and often originate from the global rainforests and industrial areas, and SU AARs are present in the Northern Hemisphere during all seasons. For most aerosol types, the mass mixing ratio within AARs is highest near the surface and decreases monotonically with altitude. However, DU and CA AARs over or near the African continent exhibit peaks in their aerosol mixing ratio profiles around 700 hPa. AAR event characteristics are mostly independent of species with mean length, width, and length/width ratio around 4000 km, 600 km, and 8, respectively.

Sudip Chakraborty et al.

Status: open (until 16 Feb 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Sudip Chakraborty et al.

Sudip Chakraborty et al.

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Short summary
This study explores extreme aerosol transport events by aerosol atmospheric rivers (AAR) and show 1) characteristics of individual AARs such as length, width, length/width ratio, transport strength, and dominant transport direction, 2) seasonal variations, 3) relationship to the spatial distribution of surface emissions, 4) vertical profiles of wind, aerosol mixing ratio, and aerosol mass fluxes, and 5) the major planetary-scale aerosol transport pathways.
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