Variability of Mineral Aerosols in the Atmosphere

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Molly B. Smith, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; and N. M. Mahowald

Handout (781.4 kB)

Mineral aerosols are important for their climate and biogeochemical impacts, but there are gaps in our understanding of both their distribution and their impacts. This study focuses on the spatial and temporal variability of aerosols, both on the large scale (global variations across decades) and the small scale (hourly variation at specific locations). Three different model simulations were conducted with three different reanalyzed meteorological datasets: MERRA (Modern Era-Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications), NCEP (National Centers for Environmental Prediction), and ECMWF (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). These simulations were then compared to aerosol observations from the AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network) database. In this way, it is possible to both observe trends in aerosol variability and assess current ability to model it. Overall, it appears that bulk aerosol concentration has remained fairly constant from 1980 to 2009, although there are pronounced seasonal variations over particularly dusty regions. The model simulations by all three meteorological datasets show good correlations with observations, although there are differences between the simulations by the different reanalysis products.