92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012: 4:45 PM
Spring Interannual Variability of the Saharan Dust Transport in the Mediterranean
Room 339 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Marco Gaetani, Institute of Biometeorology - National Research Council (IBIMET-CNR), Rome, Italy; and M. Pasqui, F. Guarnieri, C. Busillo, and F. Calastrini
Manuscript (2.7 MB)

The Saharan dust transport into the Mediterranean basin in spring (March to May, MAM) is characterized by sources in North Africa and maximum loads in the eastern basin (EM). The dust mobilization and intrusion are related to synoptic conditions favourable to the occurrence of the Sharav cyclones over North Africa, producing the extraction from the surface, the lifting above the boundary layer and the advection northwards. The spring circulation variability in the Mediterranean region is mainly related to the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO), which displaces meridionally the midlatitude westerly flow. Moreover, part of the regional variability is associated with the Mediterranean SST, which modulates the circulation anomalies along the zonal direction. The aim of this work is to investigate the relationship between the circulation variability and the Saharan aerosol transport in spring, at an interannual time-scale in the period 1979-2005. The aerosol index (AI) measured by the NASA Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) is related to the NAO index and the Mediterranean Oscillation Index (MOI). Moreover, using NOAA Extended Reconstructed SST and NCEP-DOE Reanalysis 2 atmospheric variables, the covariance between Mediterranean SST and atmospheric circulation over Europe and northern Africa is studied, and the associated anomalies are related to the the TOMS AI. Results show that the dust variability is associated (1) to the NAO in the western basin (WM), (2) to the MOI in the central basin, and (3) to the Mediterranean SST gradient in the EM. Positive NAO phases shift northwards the subtropical Atlantic high, favouring the storminess over western North Africa and the dust mobilization in the WM. On the other hand, negative MOI anomalies and positive SST gradient anomalies are related to a high-low pressure dipole in the east-west direction, and to a southwesterly flow crossing the Mediterranean, with positive AI anomalies in the central-EM.

Supplementary URL: http://web.fi.ibimet.cnr.it/seasonal/