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A process-based evaluation of dust-emitting winds in the CMIP5 simulation of HadGEM2-ES

Fiedler, S., Knippertz, P., Woodward, S., Martin, G. M., Bellouin, N., Ross, A. N., Heinold, B., Schepanski, K., Birch, C. E. and Tegen, I. (2016) A process-based evaluation of dust-emitting winds in the CMIP5 simulation of HadGEM2-ES. Climate Dynamics, 46 (3-4). pp. 1107-1130. ISSN 0930-7575

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00382-015-2635-9


Despite the importance of dust aerosol in the Earth system, state-of-the-art models show a large variety for North African dust emission. This study presents a systematic evaluation of dust emitting-winds in 30 years of the historical model simulation with the UK Met Office Earth-system model HadGEM2-ES for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5. Isolating the effect of winds on dust emission and using an automated detection for nocturnal low-level jets (NLLJs) allow an in-depth evaluation of the model performance for dust emission from a meteorological perspective. The findings highlight that NLLJs are a key driver for dust emission in HadGEM2-ES in terms of occurrence frequency and strength. The annually and spatially averaged occurrence frequency of NLLJs is similar in HadGEM2-ES and ERA-Interim from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. Compared to ERA-Interim, a stronger pressure ridge over northern Africa in winter and the southward displaced heat low in summer result in differences in location and strength of NLLJs. Particularly the larger geostrophic winds associated with the stronger ridge have a strengthening effect on NLLJs over parts of West Africa in winter. Stronger NLLJs in summer may rather result from an artificially increased mixing coefficient under stable stratification that is weaker in HadGEM2-ES. NLLJs in the Bodélé Depression are affected by stronger synoptic-scale pressure gradients in HadGEM2-ES. Wintertime geostrophic winds can even be so strong that the associated vertical wind shear prevents the formation of NLLJs. These results call for further model improvements in the synoptic-scale dynamics and the physical parametrization of the nocturnal stable boundary layer to better represent dust-emitting processes in the atmospheric model. The new approach could be used for identifying systematic behavior in other models with respect to meteorological processes for dust emission. This would help to improve dust emission simulations and contribute to decreasing the currently large uncertainty in climate change projections with respect to dust aerosol.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:62324


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