Long-term variability in Saharan dust transport and its link to North Atlantic...

Wong, S., A. Dessler, N. M. Mahowald, P. R. Colarco, and A. da Silva (2008), Long-term variability in Saharan dust transport and its link to North Atlantic sea surface temperature, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L07812, doi:10.1029/2007GL032297.

An understanding of the atmospheric distribution of Saharan dust is crucial for understanding many Earthsystem processes. We demonstrate here a model simulation indicating that the August-September dust amount in the Tropical Atlantic is linked to the basin-wide North Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST). The increasing SSTs from 1979 to 2005 are associated with a strengthening cyclonic anomaly at 700 hPa in the tropical East Atlantic, reducing Saharan dust outflow into the Tropical Atlantic at latitudes between 10°– 20°N. A decreasing dust amount over the same region is also observed by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer. Given the previously observed anticorrelation between dust and tropical cyclone (TC) activity, the long-term variation of North Atlantic SST can then directly influence TC activity by changing a TC’s maximum potential intensity and indirectly by modulating the transport of the dust-laden Saharan Air Layer.

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Modeling Analysis and Prediction Program (MAP)