Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 19995-20012, 2011
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/11/19995/2011/
doi:10.5194/acpd-11-19995-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review Status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Does the size distribution of mineral dust aerosols depend on the wind speed at emission?
J. F. Kok
Advanced Study Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. The size distribution of mineral dust aerosols greatly affects their interactions with clouds, radiation, ecosystems, and other components of the Earth system. Several theoretical dust emission models predict that the dust size distribution depends on the wind speed at emission, with larger wind speeds predicted to produce smaller aerosols. The present study investigates this prediction using a compilation of published measurements of the size-resolved vertical dust flux emitted by eroding soils. Surprisingly, these measurements indicate that the size distribution of naturally emitted dust aerosols is independent of the wind speed. This finding is consistent with the recently formulated brittle fragmentation theory of dust emission, but inconsistent with other theoretical dust emission models. The independence of the emitted dust size distribution with wind speed simplifies both the parameterization of dust emission in atmospheric circulation models as well as the interpretation of geological records of dust deposition.

Citation: Kok, J. F.: Does the size distribution of mineral dust aerosols depend on the wind speed at emission?, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 19995-20012, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-19995-2011, 2011.
 
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