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Sharp increase in Saharan dust intrusions over the western Euro-Mediterranean in February–March 2020–2022 and associated atmospheric circulation
Title: Sharp increase in Saharan dust intrusions over the western Euro-Mediterranean in February–March 2020–2022 and associated atmospheric circulation
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: 2024
Publisher: European Geosciences Union; Copernicus Publications
Citation: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2024, 24(7), p. 4083–4104
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Abstract: During the months of February–March (FM) of the 2020–2022 period, several intense dust intrusions from northern Africa affected Europe. The frequency of dust events was exceptional, considering that wintertime is the season with minimum dust activity in the Mediterranean, and some episodes displayed a duration and/or intensity never recorded before, affecting large areas of the western Euro-Mediterranean (WEM) region. The main objective of this work is to construct a catalogue of FM dust events over the WEM for the 2003–2022 period based on satellite aerosol retrievals and to analyse their atmospheric drivers at the synoptic and large scales, paying special attention to the recent 2020–2022 period of high dust activity. Overall, our results indicate large intraseasonal and interannual variability in the occurrence of wintertime dust events over the WEM. Dust events of FM 2020–2022 were characterized by enhanced dust concentration and high maximum altitudes in comparison with those of previous years (2003–2019). WEM dust events are associated with enhanced activity of high-pressure systems over the Euro-Atlantic sector, which favour 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 is the dominant favourable pattern for WEM dust occurrence, but the latter was relatively common during the 2020–2022 period.
Description: The supplement related to this article is available online at:
ISSN: 1680-7367
Appears in Collections:Artículos científicos 2023-2026

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