Response of mesoscale convective system (MCS) and cold pool formation to dust-radiative effects

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Mark T Waylonis and Shuhua Chen, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, United States
This study examines the role of dust in the development of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) over the central-west Sahara, and how cold pools from the MCS feedback to dust emissions. Few studies have simulated the direct-radiative effects of dust on cloud development. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) and Multi-angle Imaging Spectrometer (MISR) Retrieved aerosol optical depth and Meteosat Second Generation dust enhancement product were used to examine a dust outbreak that occurred between 13 and 15 August 2005 and revealed that an moist intrusion into the Sahara caused a MCS to form and resulted in dust emission due to cold pool outflow from the MCS. A dust model based on the Weather Research and Forecasting model was developed to include dust emissions, transport, dry and moist deposition, and radiation interactions and was used to simulate the case. Dust-radiation interactions were found to enhance convective strength through low-level heating, which increased convective available potential energy and low-level convergence. The increased intensity of the convection led to stronger and more widespread cold pool formation, which in turn emitted more dust into the atmosphere.