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Multi-platform observations of a springtime case of Bodele and Sudan dust emission, transport and scavenging over West Africa

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 17:12 authored by C Flamant, C Lavaysse, Martin ToddMartin Todd, J-P Chaboureau, J Pelon
The structure of the Saharan air layer over Niger and Benin during a major springtime dust event from the Bodele region and Sudan is investigated using airborne lidar and dropsonde measurements. Aircraft operations were conducted on 13 and 14 June 2006, within the framework of the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis Special Observing Period. Complementary ground-based and satellite observations, as well as European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts analyses are used to investigate the regional aspects of emission, transport and deposition in the period from 9 to 14 June 2006, to provide a framework for the interpretation of the airborne measurements. The study details the transport patterns of dust from eastern Saharan sources towards the southwest in the springtime, and highlights the role of the intertropical discontinuity and the Darfur mountains in injecting the aerosols from Bodele and Sudan, respectively, over the monsoon flow, and in the African easterly jet (AEJ) region. It also illustrates the impact of the daily variability of the emissions in the source regions on the dust load advected westward by the AEJ and observed over Benin. The impact of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) on the dust load and vertical distribution observed over Benin and southern Niger was also investigated, nearly 12 hours after its passage over Benin. The only discernible impact on the dust distribution is observed to be associated with widespread subsidence in the wake of the MCS, over northern Benin and Niger. Wet scavenging related to convective or stratiform rain could not be observed, as processed air masses were replaced by fresh dust transported in the upper Saharan air layer by the AEJ. Over southern Benin, the dust distribution appeared to be mostly controlled by processes affecting the planetary boundary layer upstream, i.e. over Nigeria or Chad. Because springtime dust from remote eastern sources (such as observed in this case) is mainly transported into the AEJ, it could impact on the radiation budget in the AEJ region, thereby possibly modifying the West African weather at the synoptic scale.


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  • Published


Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society







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  • Geography Publications

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