09 Jan 2023
09 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Modelling the European wind-blown dust emissions and their impact on PM concentrations

Marina Liaskoni1, Peter Huszar1, Lukáš Bartík1, Alvaro Patricio Prieto Perez1, Jan Karlický1, and Ondřej Vlček2 Marina Liaskoni et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, Prague, V Holešovičkách 2, 18000, Prague 8, Czech Republic
  • 2Czech Hydrometeorological Institue, Na Šabatce 2050/17, 143 00 Prague 12, Czech Republic

Abstract. Wind-blown dust (WBD) emitted by the Earth’s surface due to sandblasting can potentially have important effects on both climate and human health via interaction with solar and thermal radiation and reducing air-quality. Apart from the main dust "centers" around the world like deserts, dust can be emitted from partly vegetated middle and high latitude areas like Europe if certain conditions are suitable (strong winds, bare soil, reduced soil moisture, etc.). Using a wind-blown dust model (WBDUST) along with a chemical transport model (CAMx) coupled to a regional climate model (WRF), this study as one of the first ones provides a model based estimate of such emissions over Europe as well as the long-term impact of WBD emissions on the total PM concentrations for the 2007–2016 period.

We estimated WBD emissions to about 0.5 and 1.5 Mg km−2 yr−1 in fine and coarse mode in average. Maximum emissions occur over Germany where the average seasonal fine and coarse mode emission flux can reach 0.2 and 0.5 g km−2 s−1, respectively. Large variability is seen in the daily averaged emissions with values up to 2 g km−2 s−1 for the coarse mode aerosol on selected days.

The WBD emissions increased the modelled winter PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations by up to 10 and 20 μgm−3, respectively, especially over Germany, where the highest emissions occur. The impact on other seasons is lower. Much higher impacts are modelled however during selected days when occasionally the urban PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations are increased by more than 50 and 100 μgm−3. The comparison with measurements revealed that if WBD is considered, the summer biases are reduced however the winter PM is even more overestimated (so the bias increased). We identified strong overestimation of the modelled wind-speed (the maximum daily wind is almost 2 times higher in WRF than the measured ones) suggesting that WBD emissions are also overestimated hence the enhanced winter PM biases.

Moreover, we investigated the secondary impacts of the crustal composition of fine WBD particles on secondary inorganic aerosol (SIA): sulphates (PSO4), nitrates (PNO3) and ammonium (PNH4). Due to perturbing the water pH value and thus the uptake of their gaseous precursors as well as due to increased aerosol surface serving as oxidation site, we modelled increased seasonal PSO4 and PNO3 concentrations by up to 0.1 μgm−3 and decreases for PNH4 (by up to -0.05 μgm−3), especially during winter. As the average daily impact, these numbers can however reach much larger values up to 1–2 μgm−3 for sulphates and nitrates while the decrease of ammonium due to WBD can reach -1 μgm−3 on selected days. The sensitivity test on the choice of the inorganic equilibrium model (ISORROPIA vs. EQSAM) showed that if EQSAM is used, the impact on SIA is slightly stronger (by a few 10 %) due to larger number of cations considered for water pH in EQSAM.

Our results have to be considered as a first estimate of the long-term WBD emissions and the related effects on PM over Europe. More sensitivity studies involving the impact of the WBD model choice and the input data used to describe the land-surface need to be carried out in future to better constrain these emissions.

Marina Liaskoni et al.

Status: open (until 20 Feb 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-804', Anonymous Referee #3, 26 Jan 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2022-804', Anonymous Referee #2, 28 Jan 2023 reply

Marina Liaskoni et al.

Marina Liaskoni et al.


Total article views: 265 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
181 73 11 265 3 5
  • HTML: 181
  • PDF: 73
  • XML: 11
  • Total: 265
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 5
Views and downloads (calculated since 09 Jan 2023)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 09 Jan 2023)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 240 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 240 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 01 Feb 2023
Short summary
Wind-blown dust (WBD) emissions emitted from European soils are estimated for the 2007–2016 period and their impact on the total particulate matter (PM) concentration is calculated. We found considerable increase of PM concentrations due to such emissions, especially during selected days (rather than in seasonal average). We also found that WBD emissions are strongest over western Europe and the highest impacts on PM are calculated for this region.