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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-197
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-197
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 12 Apr 2019

Submitted as: research article | 12 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript for further review has not been submitted.

Convective distribution of dust over the Arabian Peninsula: the impact of model resolution

Jennie Bukowski and Susan C. van den Heever Jennie Bukowski and Susan C. van den Heever
  • Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

Abstract. Along the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, convective dust storms are a considerable source of mineral dust to the atmosphere. Reliable predictions of convective dust events are necessary to determine their effects on air quality, visibility, and the radiation budget. In this study, the Weather Research and Forecasting Model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) is used to simulate a 2016 summertime dust event over the Arabian Peninsula and examine the variability in dust fields and associated vertical transport due to the choice of convective parameterization and explicit versus parameterized convection. Simulations are run at 45 km and 15 km grid spacing with multiple cumulus parameterizations, and are compared to a 3 km simulation that permits explicit convective processes. Five separate cumulus parameterizations at 15 km grid spacing were tested to quantify the spread across different parameterizations. Finally, the impact these variations have on radiation, specifically aerosol heating rates is also investigated.

On average, in these simulations the explicit case produces higher quantities of dust than the parameterized cases in terms of dust uplift potential, vertical dust concentrations, and vertical dust fluxes. Major drivers of this discrepancy between the simulations stem from the explicit case exhibiting higher surface windspeeds during convective activity, lower dust emission wind threshold velocities due to drier soil, and more frequent, stronger vertical velocities which transport dust aloft and increase the atmospheric lifetime of these particles. For aerosol heating rates in the lowest levels, the shortwave effect prevails in the explicit case with a net cooling effect, whereas a longwave net warming effect is present in the parameterized cases. The spread in dust concentrations across cumulus parameterizations at the same grid resolution (15 km) is an order of magnitude lower than the impact of moving from parameterized to explicit convection. We conclude that tuning dust emissions in coarse resolution simulations can only improve the results to first-order and cannot fully rectify the discrepancies originating from disparities in the representation of convective dust transport.

Jennie Bukowski and Susan C. van den Heever
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Status: closed (peer review stopped)
Status: closed (peer review stopped)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed (peer review stopped)
Status: closed (peer review stopped)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Jennie Bukowski and Susan C. van den Heever
Jennie Bukowski and Susan C. van den Heever
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Latest update: 10 Dec 2019
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Short summary
This paper seeks to better our understanding of how dust storms are represented in a weather model. Depending on how well the model can represent the storm, it can change the dust forecast significantly. This is important for predictions of air quality and visibility, and because dust can heat and cool the air in its environment, it is also crucial for calculating the earth’s energy budget. Here, we communicate the uncertainty in a dust model and the effect that may have on dust forecasts.
This paper seeks to better our understanding of how dust storms are represented in a weather...
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