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Spring Dust in Western North America and Its Interannual...

Kim, D., M. Chin, C. A. Cruz, D. Tong, and H. Yu (2021), Spring Dust in Western North America and Its Interannual Variability—Understanding the Role of Local and Transported Dust, J. Geophys. Res., 126, org/10.1029/2021JD035383.

Mineral dust over western North America is an important aerosol type contributing up to one half of surface aerosol concentrations in spring. In the present study, we use data from in-situ and remote-sensing observations and the NASA Unified WRF (NU-WRF) model to investigate the sources and interannual variations of the springtime fine-mode dust over western North America. The horizontal distribution, seasonality, and interannual variability of the springtime dust over the region are characterized with observations of fine dust concentrations at the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments sites and dust optical depth from the Aerosol Robotic Network measurements. We have conducted detailed modeling and analysis for April in selected years of 2005, 2008, and 2009, to understand the causes of interannual variabilities of the springtime dust with model experiments that separate the dust generated from local deserts with that transported across the Pacific Ocean. The results suggest that although several permanent deserts and semi-arid regions in western North America are the major source of surface fine dust concentrations in the immediate vicinity, long-range transpacific transported dust is a dominant dust source in springtime, especially over the coastal regions and areas remote from the local deserts. Interannual variability of fine dust over western North America is explained with both local dust emission and long-range transported dust.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
Climate Variability and Change Program