Global sand and dust storms in 2008: Observation and HYSPLIT model verification

 

Yaqiang Wang, Ariel F. Stein, Roland R. Draxler, Jesús D. de la Rosa, Xiaoye Zhang

 

Atmospheric Environment 45 (2011) 6368-6381, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.08.035

 

Abstract - The HYSPLIT model has been applied to simulate the global dust distribution for 2008 using two different dust emission schemes. The first one assumes that emissions could occur from any land-use grid cell defined in the model as desert. The second emission approach uses an empirically derived algorithm based on satellite observations. To investigate the dust storm features and verify the model performance, a global dataset of Integrated Surface Hourly (ISH) observations has been analyzed to map the spatial distribution and seasonal variation of sand and dust storms. Furthermore, the PM10 concentration data at four stations in Northern China and two stations in Southern Spain, and the AOD data from a station located at the center of the Sahara Desert have been compared with the model results. The spatial distribution of observed dust storm frequency from ISH shows the known high frequency areas located in North Africa, the Middle East, Mongolia and Northwestern China. Some sand and dust storms have also been observed in Australia, Mexico, Argentina, and other sites in South America. Most of the dust events in East Asia occur in the spring, however this seasonal feature is not so evident in other dust source regions. In general, the model reproduces the dust storm frequency for most of the regions for the two emission approaches. Also, a good quantitative performance is achieved at the ground stations in Southern Spain and Western China when using the desert land-use based emissions, although HYSPLIT overestimates the dust concentration at downwind areas of East Asia and underestimates the column in the center of the Saharan Desert. On the other hand, the satellite based emission approach improves the dust forecast performance in the Sahara, but underestimates the dust concentrations in East Asia.

 

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