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Title: Direct Radiative Effect of Mineral Dust on the Development of African Easterly Waves in Late Summer, 2003-07

Episodic events of both Saharan dust outbreaks and African easterly waves (AEWs) are observed to move westward over the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. The relationship between the warm, dry, and dusty Saharan air layer on the nearby storms has been the subject of considerable debate. In this study, the Weather Research and Forecasting model is used to investigate the radiative effect of dust on the development of AEWs during August and September, the months of maximumtropical cyclone activity, in years 2003–07. The simulations show that dust radiative forcing enhances the convective instability of the environment. As a result, mostAEWsintensify in the presence of a dust layer. The Lorenz energy cycle analysis reveals that the dust radiative forcing enhances the condensational heating, which elevates the zonal and eddy available potential energy. In turn, available potential energy is effectively converted to eddy kinetic energy, in which local convective overturning plays the primary role. The magnitude of the intensification effect depends on the initial environmental conditions, including moisture, baroclinity, and the depth of the boundary layer. The authors conclude that dust radiative forcing, albeit small, serves as a catalyst to promote local convection that facilitates AEW development.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 51(12):2090–2104
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Radiative Effect; Mineral Dust; African Easterly Wave; Late Summer 2003-2007