Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 24437-24467, 2012
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/12/24437/2012/
doi:10.5194/acpd-12-24437-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Using the significant dust deposition event on the glaciers of Mt. Elbrus, Caucasus Mountains, Russia on 5 May 2009 to develop a method for dating and provenancing of desert dust events recorded in snow pack
M. Shahgedanova1, S. Kutuzov1,2, K. White1, and G. Nosenko2
1Department of Geography and Environmental Science and Walker Institute for Climate System Research, the University of Reading, Reading, UK
2Laboratory of Glaciology, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Abstract. A significant desert dust deposition event occurred on Mt. Elbrus, Caucasus Mountains, Russia on 5 May 2009, where the deposited dust later appeared as a brown layer in the snow pack. An examination of dust transportation history and analysis of chemical and physical properties of the deposited dust were used to develop a new approach for high-resolution provenancing of dust deposition events recorded in snow pack using multiple independent techniques. A combination of SEVIRI red-green-blue composite imagery, MODIS atmospheric optical depth fields derived using the Deep Blue algorithm, air mass trajectories derived with HYSPLIT model and analysis of meteorological data enabled identification of dust source regions with high temporal (hours) and spatial (ca. 100 km) resolution. Dust, deposited on 5 May 2009, originated in the foothills of the Djebel Akhdar in eastern Libya where dust sources were activated by the intrusion of cold air from the Mediterranean Sea and Saharan low pressure system and transported to the Caucasus along the eastern Mediterranean coast, Syria and Turkey. Particles with an average diameter below 8 μm accounted for 90% of the measured particles in the sample with a mean of 3.58 μm, median 2.48 μm and the dominant mode of 0.60 μm. The chemical signature of this long-travelled dust was significantly different from the locally-produced dust and close to that of soils collected in a palaeolake in the source region, in concentrations of hematite and oxides of aluminium, manganese, and magnesium. Potential addition of dust from a secondary source in northern Mesopotamia introduced uncertainty in the provenancing of dust from this event. Nevertheless, the approach adopted here enables other dust horizons in the snowpack to be linked to specific dust transport events recorded in remote sensing and meteorological data archives.

Citation: Shahgedanova, M., Kutuzov, S., White, K., and Nosenko, G.: Using the significant dust deposition event on the glaciers of Mt. Elbrus, Caucasus Mountains, Russia on 5 May 2009 to develop a method for dating and provenancing of desert dust events recorded in snow pack, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 24437-24467, doi:10.5194/acpd-12-24437-2012, 2012.
 
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