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Regional model simulations of the Bodélé low-level jet of Northern Chad during the Bodélé Dust Experiment (BoDEx 2005)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 17:22 authored by Martin ToddMartin Todd, Richard Washington, Srivatsan Raghavan, Gil Lizcano, Peter Knippertz
The low-level jet (LLJ) over the Bodélé depression in northern Chad is a newly identified feature. Strong LLJ events are responsible for the emission of large quantities of mineral dust from the depression, the world¿s largest single dust source, and its subsequent transport to West Africa, the tropical Atlantic, and beyond. Accurate simulation of this key dust-generating atmospheric feature is, therefore, an important requirement for dust models. The objectives of the present study are (i) to evaluate the ability of regional climate models (RCMs) and global analyses/reanalyses to represent this feature, and (ii) to determine the driving mechanisms of the LLJ and its strong diurnal cycle. Observational data obtained during the Bodélé Dust Experiment (BoDEx 2005) are utilized for comparison. When suitably configured, the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5) RCM can represent very accurately many of the key features of the jet including the structure, diurnal cycle, and day-to-day variability. Surface winds are also well reproduced, including the peak winds, which activate dust emission. Model fidelity is, however, strongly dependent on the boundary layer parameterization scheme, surface roughness, and vertical resolution in the lowest layers. A model horizontal resolution of a few tens of kilometers is sufficient to resolve most of the key features of the LLJ, while in global analyses/reanalyses many features of the LLJ are not adequately represented. Idealized RCM simulations indicate that under strong synoptic forcing the surrounding orography of the Tibesti and Ennedi Mountains acts to focus the LLJ onto the Bodélé and to accelerate the jet by ~40%. From the RCM experiments it is diagnosed that the pronounced diurnal cycle of the Bodélé LLJ is largely a result of varying eddy viscosity, with elevated heating/cooling over the Tibesti Mountains to the north as a second-order contribution.


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Journal of Climate







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