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Mineral dust emission from the Bodele Depression, Chad during BoDEx. 2005

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 16:54 authored by Martin ToddMartin Todd, Richard Washington, José Vanderlai Martins, Oleg Dubovik, Gil Lizcano, Samuel M'Bainayel, Sebastian Engelstaedter
Mineral dust in the atmosphere is an important component of the climate system but is poorly quantified. The Bodele Depression of northern Chad stands out as the world's greatest source region of mineral dust into the atmosphere. Frequent dust plumes are a distinguishing feature of the region's climate. There is a need for more detailed information on processes of dust emission/transport and dust optical properties to inform model simulations of this source. During the Bodele Dust Experiment (BoDEx) in 2005, instrumentation was deployed to measure dust properties and boundary layer meteorology. Observations indicate that dust emission events are triggered when near-surface wind speeds exceed 10 ms(-1), associated with synoptic-scale variability in the large-scale atmospheric circulation. Dust emission pulses in phase with the diurnal cycle of near-surface winds. Analysis of dust samples shows that the dust consists predominantly of fragments of diatomite sediment. The particle size distribution of this diatomite dust estimated from sun photometer data, using a modified Aeronet retrieval algorithm, indicates a dominant coarse mode (radius centered on 1-2 mu m) similar to other Saharan dust observations. Single-scattering albedo values are high, broadly in line with other Saharan dust even though the diatomite composition of dust from the Bodele is likely to be unusual. The radiative impact of high dust loadings results in a reduction in surface daytime maximum temperature of around 7 degrees C in the Bodele region. Using optical and physical properties of dust obtained in the field, we estimate the total dust flux emitted from the Bodele to be 1.18 +/- 0.45 Tg per day during a substantial dust event. We speculate that the Bodele Depression (similar to 10,800 km(2)) may be responsible for between 6-18% of global dust emissions, although the uncertainty in both the Bodele and global estimates remains high.


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  • Published


Journal of Geophysical Research




American Geophysical Union





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  • Geography Publications

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