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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-179
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-179
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 03 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 03 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Global dust cycle and uncertainty in CMIP5 models

Chenglai Wu1, Zhaohui Lin1, and Xiaohong Liu2 Chenglai Wu et al.
  • 1International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 2Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA

Abstract. Dust cycle is an important component of the Earth system and have been implemented into climate models and Earth System Models (ESMs). An assessment of the dust cycle in these models is vital to address the strengths and weaknesses of these models in simulating dust aerosol and its interactions with the Earth system and enhance the future model developments. This study presents a comprehensive evaluation of global dust cycle in 15 models participating in the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). The various models are compared with each other and with an aerosol reanalysis as well as station observations of dust deposition and concentrations. The results show that the global dust emission in these models ranges from 735 to 8186 Tg yr−1 and the annual mean dust burden ranges from 2.5 to 41.9 Tg, both of which scatter by a factor of about 10–20. The models generally agree with each other and observations in reproducing the dust belt that extends from North Africa, Middle East, Central and South Asia, to East Asia, although they differ largely in the spatial extent of this dust belt. The models also differ in other dust source regions such as North America and Australia, where the contributions of these sources to global dust emissions vary by a factor of more than 500. We suggest that the coupling of dust emission with dynamic vegetation can enlarge the range of simulated dust emission.

For the removal process, all the models estimate that wet deposition is a smaller sink than dry deposition and wet deposition accounts for 12–39 % of total deposition. The models also estimate that most (77–91 %) of dust particles are deposited onto continents and 9–23 % of them are deposited into oceans. A linear relationship between dust burden, lifetime, and fraction of wet deposition to total deposition from these models suggests a general consistency among the models. Compared to the observations, most models reproduce the dust deposition and dust concentrations within a factor of 10 at most stations, but larger biases by more than a factor of 10 are also noted at specific regions and for certain models. These results cast a doubt on the interpretation of the simulations of dust-affected fields in climate models and highlight the need for further improvements of dust cycle especially on dust emission in climate models.

Chenglai Wu et al.

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Short summary
This study provides a comprehensive evaluation of global dust cycle in 15 models participating in the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). We assess the global budget and associated uncertainties. We also quantify the discrepancies in each model. The results highlight the large uncertainties in both the locations and intensities of dust emission. Our study will serve as a useful reference for model communities and help further model improvements.
This study provides a comprehensive evaluation of global dust cycle in 15 models participating...
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