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U.K. HiGEM: impacts of desert dust radiative forcing in a high-resolution atmospheric GCM

Woodage, M. and Woodward, S. (2014) U.K. HiGEM: impacts of desert dust radiative forcing in a high-resolution atmospheric GCM. Journal Of Climate, 27 (15). pp. 5907-5928. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00556.1


This work investigates the impacts of mineral dust aerosol on climate using the atmospheric component of the U.K. High-Resolution Global Environmental Model (HiGEM) with an interactive embedded mineral dust scheme. It extends earlier work by Woodage et al. in which direct radiative forcing due to dust was calculated and in which it was reported that the global total dust burden was increased when this was included in the model.Here this result is analyzed further and the regional and global impacts are investigated. It is found that particle size distribution is critically important: In regions where large, more absorbent dust particles are present, burdens are increased because of the enhanced heating aloft, which strengthens convection, whereas, in areas where smaller, more scattering particles dominate, the surface layers are stabilized and dust emissions are decreased. The consequent changes in dust load and particle size distribution when radiative effects are included make the annual mean global forcing more positive at the top of the atmosphere (0.33 versus 0.05Wm22).Impacts on the West African monsoon are also considered, where Saharan dust brings about a northward shift in the summertime intertropical convergence zone with increased precipitation on its northern side. This contrasts with results from some other studies, but the authors’ findings are supported by recent observational data. They argue that the impacts depend crucially on the size distribution and radiative properties of the dust particles, which are poorly known on a global scale and differ here from those used in other models.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:67169
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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