Performance evaluation of CESM in simulating the dust cycle

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Sagar Prasad Parajuli1, Zong-Liang Yang2, Gary Kocurek2 and David M Lawrence3, (1)University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States, (2)Univ Texas Austin, Austin, TX, United States, (3)National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States
Mineral dust in the atmosphere has implications for Earth’s radiation budget, biogeochemical cycles, hydrological cycles, human health and visibility. Mineral dust is injected into the atmosphere during dust storms when the surface winds are sufficiently strong and the land surface conditions are favorable. Dust storms are very common in specific regions of the world including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which contains more than 50% of the global dust sources. In this work, we present simulation of the dust cycle under the framework of CESM1.2.2 and evaluate how well the model captures the spatio-temporal characteristics of dust sources, transport and deposition at global scale, especially in dust source regions. We conducted our simulations using two existing erodibility maps (geomorphic and topographic) and a new erodibility map, which is based on the correlation between observed wind and dust. We compare the simulated results with MODIS satellite data, MACC reanalysis data, and AERONET station data. Comparison with MODIS satellite data and MACC reanalysis data shows that all three erodibility maps generally reproduce the spatio-temporal characteristics of dust optical depth globally. However, comparison with AERONET station data shows that the simulated dust optical depth is generally overestimated for all erodibility maps. Results vary greatly by region and scale of observational data. Our results also show that the simulations forced by reanalysis meteorology capture the overall dust cycle more realistically compared to the simulations done using online meteorology.