Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 4967-4986, 2016
http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/16/4967/2016/
doi:10.5194/acp-16-4967-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
21 Apr 2016
Forecasting the northern African dust outbreak towards Europe in April 2011: a model intercomparison
N. Huneeus1,2, S. Basart3, S. Fiedler4,5,a, J.-J. Morcrette6, A. Benedetti6, J. Mulcahy7, E. Terradellas8, C. Pérez García-Pando9,10, G. Pejanovic11, S. Nickovic11,12, P. Arsenovic11,13, M. Schulz14, E. Cuevas15, J. M. Baldasano3,16, J. Pey12,17, S. Remy6,b, and B. Cvetkovic11 1Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, IPSL, CNRS/UPMC, Paris, France
2Department of Geophysics and Center for Climate and Resilience Research, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
3Earth Sciences Department, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, BSC-CNS, Barcelona, Spain
4School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
5Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
6European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
7Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
8Meteorological State Agency of Spain (AEMET), Barcelona, Spain
9NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, USA
10Department of Applied Physics and Applied Math, Columbia University, New York, USA
11National Hydrometeorological Service, Belgrade, Serbia
12Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Spanish Research Council, Barcelona, Spain
13Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland
14Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
15Izaña Atmospheric Research Center, State Meteorological Agency of Spain (AEMET), Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
16Environmental Modelling Laboratory, Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
17Geological Survey of Spain (IGME), Zaragoza, Spain
anow at: Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
bnow at: Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, IPSL, CNRS/UPMC, Paris, France
Abstract. In the framework of the World Meteorological Organisation's Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System, we evaluated the predictions of five state-of-the-art dust forecast models during an intense Saharan dust outbreak affecting western and northern Europe in April 2011. We assessed the capacity of the models to predict the evolution of the dust cloud with lead times of up to 72 h using observations of aerosol optical depth (AOD) from the AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and dust surface concentrations from a ground-based measurement network. In addition, the predicted vertical dust distribution was evaluated with vertical extinction profiles from the Cloud and Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP). To assess the diversity in forecast capability among the models, the analysis was extended to wind field (both surface and profile), synoptic conditions, emissions and deposition fluxes. Models predict the onset and evolution of the AOD for all analysed lead times. On average, differences among the models are larger than differences among lead times for each individual model. In spite of large differences in emission and deposition, the models present comparable skill for AOD. In general, models are better in predicting AOD than near-surface dust concentration over the Iberian Peninsula. Models tend to underestimate the long-range transport towards northern Europe. Our analysis suggests that this is partly due to difficulties in simulating the vertical distribution dust and horizontal wind. Differences in the size distribution and wet scavenging efficiency may also account for model diversity in long-range transport.

Citation: Huneeus, N., Basart, S., Fiedler, S., Morcrette, J.-J., Benedetti, A., Mulcahy, J., Terradellas, E., Pérez García-Pando, C., Pejanovic, G., Nickovic, S., Arsenovic, P., Schulz, M., Cuevas, E., Baldasano, J. M., Pey, J., Remy, S., and Cvetkovic, B.: Forecasting the northern African dust outbreak towards Europe in April 2011: a model intercomparison, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 4967-4986, doi:10.5194/acp-16-4967-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
Five dust models are evaluated regarding their performance in predicting an intense Saharan dust outbreak affecting western and northern Europe (NE). Models predict the onset and evolution of the event for all analysed lead times. On average, differences among the models are larger than differences in lead times for each model. The models tend to underestimate the long-range transport towards NE. This is partly due to difficulties in simulating the vertical dust distribution and horizontal wind.
Five dust models are evaluated regarding their performance in predicting an intense Saharan dust...
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