An Empirical equation to estimate mineral dust concentrations from visibility observations in Northern Africa
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This paper presents a new empirical equation relating horizontal visibility and PM10 dust concentrations. The new empirical equation (IZO-Eq) is derived from observations performed at the Izana Atmospheric Observatory (IZO, 28.30 degrees N, 16.49 degrees W, 2367 m a.s.l., Tenerife, Spain), recorded during Saharan dust outbreaks from 2003 to 2010. A filter based on relative humidity, present-weather and aerosol optical properties is applied to identify dust events. IZO-Eq is validated in the Sahel region during the dry and wet seasons (2006-2008) using data from two PM10 monitoring stations from the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) International Project, and data from the nearest meteorological synoptic stations. The estimated PM10, derived from IZO-Eq is compared against that those obtained by other empirical equations and dust surface concentrations from NMMB/BSC-Dust model. IZO-Eq presents better performance than the other equations in both dry and wet seasons when compared with observed PM10 at two Sahelian sites. IZO-Eq is also able to reproduce the surface concentration variability simulated by NMMB/BSC-Dust. Above 10 km of horizontal visibility, empirical equations cannot be used to estimate PM10, since above this threshold equations estimate a nearly constant PM10 value, regardless of the visibility range. A comparison between the PM10 spatial distributions derived from visibility SYNOP observations through IZO-Eq, the modelled values from the NMMB/BSC-Dust model and aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrieved from MODIS is performed for the 2006-2008 period. The different spatial distributions present a rather good agreement among them as well as to reproduce the characteristic seasonal dust features over North Africa.
CitationCamino, C., Cuevas, E., Basart, S., Alonso-Perez, S., Baldasano, J., Terradellas, E., Marticorena, B., Berjon, A., Rodriguez, S. An Empirical equation to estimate mineral dust concentrations from visibility observations in Northern Africa. "Aeolian research", 01 Març 2015, vol. 16, núm. March, p. 55-68.