The impacts of Middle East dust on Indian summer rainfall

Monday, 15 December 2014
Qinjian Jin1, Zong-Liang Yang2 and Jiangfeng Wei1, (1)The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States, (2)Univ Texas Austin, Austin, TX, United States
Using the Weather Research and Forecasting model with online chemistry (WRF-Chem), the impact of Middle East dust aerosols on the Indian summer monsoon rainfall was studied. Eight numerical experiments were conducted to take into account uncertainties related to dust-absorbing properties, various assumptions used in calculating aerosol optical depth (AOD), and various radiation schemes. In order to obtain reasonable dust emission, model-simulated AOD and radiation forcing at the top of the atmosphere were compared with multiple satellite- and surface-based observations. Consistent with observations, modeled results show heavy dust loadings in the Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan, which can be transported through long distance to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Peninsula. By heating the atmosphere in the lower troposphere over the Iranian Plateau, these dust aerosols result in strengthened Indian summer monsoon circulations, which in turn transport more water vapor to the Indian Peninsula. The model shows that northern India becomes wetter during the monsoon season in dust cases than non-dust cases. Further observational analyses show an increasing trend in AOD over the Arabian Peninsula, which corresponds to an increasing trend of rainfall in northern India during summer monsoon seasons from 2000 to 2013. These observed trends of AOD and rainfall are consistent with the model-simulated positive relationship between Middle East dust and Indian summer monsoon rainfall. Our results highlight long-term (decadal) impacts of Middle East dust aerosols on the Indian summer rainfall.