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Sharp increase of Saharan dust intrusions over the Western Mediterranean and Euro-Atlantic region in winters 2020–2022 and associated atmospheric circulation [Discussion paper]
Title: Sharp increase of Saharan dust intrusions over the Western Mediterranean and Euro-Atlantic region in winters 2020–2022 and associated atmospheric circulation [Discussion paper]
Authors: Cuevas Agulló, Emilio ORCID RESEARCHERID SCOPUSID Autor AEMETBarriopedro, DavidGarcía Cabrera, Rosa Delia ORCID RESEARCHERID Alonso Pérez, SilviaGonzález-Alemán, Juan Jesús ORCID RESEARCHERID SCOPUSID Autor AEMETWerner, ErnestAutor AEMETSuárez Molina, David ORCID RESEARCHERID SCOPUSID Autor AEMETBustos Seguela, Juan José deAutor AEMETGarcía-Castrillo, GerardoGarcía Rodríguez, Omaira Elena ORCID RESEARCHERID Autor AEMETBarreto Velasco, África ORCID RESEARCHERID SCOPUSID Autor AEMETBasart, Sara ORCID
Keywords: Saharan dust; Atmospheric circulation; Dust events; Winter
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: European Geosciences Union; Copernicus Publications
Citation: EGUsphere. 2023
Publisher version:
Abstract: During the winters of the 2020–2022 period, several intense North African dust intrusions affected Europe. Some of them displayed a duration never recorded before. They were referred to as exceptional by several international operational and research institutions considering that wintertime is the season with minimum dust activity in the Mediterranean and Europe. These anomalous winter events with origin in North Africa largely affected western Mediterranean. The main objective of the present work is to analyse the atmospheric drivers (synoptic and large-scale environments) of wintertime (from January to March) dust events over the region covering North Africa, the Western Mediterranean and the Euro-Atlantic during the period 2003–2022. Overall, our results indicate large interannual variability over the study period. A dust catalogue of dust events identified by aerosols retrievals from satellite and aerosol reanalysis products shows a very irregular record and large differences between winter months. The analyses demonstrate a positive anomaly in dust concentration and maximum altitude during the dust events of 2020–2022 in comparison with those of previous years (2003–2019). Winter dust events over western Mediterranean are associated with enhanced blocking activity over the Euro-Atlantic sector, which favours the obstruction of the westerlies and the occurrence of cut-off lows at subtropical latitudes. However, these high-pressure systems can exhibit a large variety of configurations, including meridional dipole blocking patterns with poleward shifted jets or Mediterranean subtropical ridges with an intensified mid-latitude jet. The former was more frequent during the reference 2003–2019 period, whereas the latter was relatively common during the anomalous 2020–2022 period.
Description: The top-three strong dust intrusions registered on the Western Mediterranean in the 2003-2022 period (labelled as "extreme") are shown with three time-lapses that are part of the Supplement material of the Cuevas-Agulló et al. (2023) paper ( Dust is shown through animation of 15’ dust red–green–blue (RGB) images from Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI). The Dust RGB makes use of the three window channels of MSG centred at 8.7, 10.8, and 12.0 μm, respectively. This RGB has been primarily tuned for day and night dust detection, which is shown in pink colour, but it is able to detect other cloud types as well. The temporal evolution of the 6-hours ERA5 reanalysis Z500 for each one of the three “extreme” dust events allows to identify the evolution of the cut-off lows, drivers of dust mobilization. We have used a SEVIRI manual dust plume tracking methodology (Schepanski et al. 2007, 2009) to determine the dust sources on Morocco, Algeria, and Western Sahara identified by Ginoux et al. (2012).
Appears in Collections:Artículos científicos 2023-2026

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