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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-223
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-223
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 19 Mar 2019

Submitted as: research article | 19 Mar 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Retrieving the global distribution of threshold of wind erosion from satellite data and implementing it into the GFDL AM4.0/LM4.0 model

Bing Pu1,2,a, Paul Ginoux2, Huan Guo2,3, N. Christine Hsu4, John Kimball5, Beatrice Marticorena6, Sergey Malyshev2, Vaishali Naik2, Norman T. O'Neill7, Carlos Pérez García-Pando8, Joseph M. Prospero9, Elena Shevliakova2, and Ming Zhao2 Bing Pu et al.
  • 1Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544
  • 2NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey 08540
  • 3Cooperative Programs for the Advancement of Earth System Science, University Corporation for AtmosphericResearch, Boulder, Colorado, 80301
  • 4NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, 20771
  • 5Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812
  • 6LISA, Universités Paris Est-Paris Diderot-Paris
  • 7Département de géomatique appliquée, Universitéde Sherbrooke
  • 8Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Barcelona, Spain, 08034
  • 9Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, 33149
  • acurrent affiliation: Department of Geographical and Atmospheric Science, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045

Abstract. Dust emission is initiated when surface wind velocities exceed the threshold of wind erosion. Most dust models used constant threshold values globally. Here we use satellite products to characterize the frequency of dust events and surface properties. By matching this frequency derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Deep Blue aerosol products with surface winds, we are able to retrieve a climatological monthly global distribution of wind erosion threshold (Vthreshold) over dry and sparsely-vegetated surface. This monthly two-dimensional threshold velocity is then implemented into the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory coupled land-atmosphere model (AM4.0/LM4.0). It is found that the climatology of dust optical depth (DOD) and total aerosol optical depth, surface PM10 dust concentrations, and seasonal cycle of DOD are better captured over the dust belt (i.e. North Africa and the Middle East) by simulations with the new wind erosion threshold than those using the default globally constant threshold. The most significant improvement is the frequency distribution of dust events, which is generally ignored in model evaluation. By using monthly rather than annual mean Vthreshold, all comparisons with observations are further improved. The monthly global threshold of wind erosion can be retrieved under different spatial resolutions to match the resolution of dust models and thus can help improve the simulations of dust climatology and seasonal cycle as well as dust forecasting.

Bing Pu et al.
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Short summary
Dust emission is initiated when surface wind velocities exceed a threshold, the value of which depends on soil and surface characteristics and varies spatially and temporally. Constant thresholds of wind erosion are widely used in climate models. Climatological monthly global distribution of wind erosion threshold, Vthreshold, is retrieved using satellite and reanalysis products and is found to improve the simulation of dust frequency, magnitude, and seasonal cycle in the GFDL AM4.0/LM4.0 model.
Dust emission is initiated when surface wind velocities exceed a threshold, the value of which...
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