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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-431
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-431
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 07 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 07 Aug 2019

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

Modeling dust sources, transport, and radiative effects at different altitudes over the Tibetan Plateau

Zhiyuan Hu1, Jianping Huang1, Chun Zhao2, Qinjian Jin3, Yuanyuan Ma4, and Ben Yang5 Zhiyuan Hu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China
  • 3Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA
  • 4Key Laboratory of Land Surface Process and Climate Change in Cold and Arid Regions, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 5School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

Abstract. Mineral dust plays an important role in the climate of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) by modifying the radiation budget, cloud macro- and microphysics, precipitation, and snow albedo. Meanwhile, the TP with the highest topography in the word can affect intercontinental transport of dust plumes and induce typical distribution characteristics of dust at different altitudes. In this study, we conduct a quasi-global simulation to investigate the characteristics of dust source contribution and transport over the TP at different altitude by using a fully coupled meteorology–chemistry model (WRF–Chem) with a tracer-tagging technique. Generally, the simulation reasonably captures the spatial distribution of satellite retrieved dust aerosol optical depth (AOD) at different altitudes. Model results show that dust particles are emitted into atmosphere through updrafts over major desert regions, and then transported to the TP. The East Asian dust is transported and lifted up to the TP, contributing a mass loading of 50 mg/m2 at 3 km height and 5 mg/m2 at 12 km height over the northern slop of the TP. Dust from North Africa and Middle East are concentrated over both northern and southern slopes below 6 km, where mass loadings range from 10 to 100 mg/m2 and 1 to 10 mg/m2 below 3 km and above 9 km, respectively. As the dust is transported to the north and over the TP, mass loadings are 5–10 mg/m2 above 6 km.

The imported dust mass flux from East Asia to the TP is 7.9 Tg/year mostly occuring at the heights of 3–6 km. The North African and Middle East dust particles are transported eastward following the westerly jet, and then imported into the TP at West side with the dust mass flux of 7.8 and 26.6 Tg/year, respectively. The maximum mass flux of the North African dust mainly occurs in 0–3 km (3.9 Tg/year), while the Middle East within 6–9 km (12.3 Tg/year). The dust outflow occurs at East side (−17.89 Tg/year) and South side (−11.22 Tg/year) of the TP with a peak value (8.7 Tg/year) in 6–9 km. Moreover, the dust mass is within the size range of 1.25~5.0 μm and dust number is concentrated in the size range of 0.156~1.25 μm. Compared with other aerosols, the dust contributes more than 50 % to the total AOD over the TP. The direct radiative forcing induced by the dust is −1.28 W/m2 at the top of the atmosphere (cooling), 0.41 W/m2 in the atmosphere (warming) and −1.68 W/m2 at the surface (cooling). Our quantitative analyses of the dust contribution from different source regions and the associated radiative forcing can help better understand the role of dust on the climate over the TP and surrounding regions.

Zhiyuan Hu et al.
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Short summary
This study investigates intercontinental transport of dust plums and distribution characteristics of dust at different altitudes over the Tibetan Plateau (TP). The results show that dust particles are emitted into atmosphere and then transport to the TP. The East Asian dust trasnports southward and is lifted up to the TP in northern slop, while the North Afican dust and Middle East dust transport eastward and concentrate in both northern and southern slops, then is lifted up to the TP.
This study investigates intercontinental transport of dust plums and distribution...
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