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Journal Articles Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres Year : 2022

Rain, Wind, and Dust Connections in the Sahel


The Sahel is a dust source region where dust emission could be drastically modified in the future due to climatic and land use changes. Based on observations of meteorological parameters and dust concentration for about 1,000 rain events, we investigated the processes leading to dust emission during the rainy season when Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCSs) regularly cross the Sahel. We show that the highest wind speed is strongly linked to the MCS cold pool intensity, which is characterized by a drop in surface temperature. This is observed during the premonsoon period (∼May to June) when the midtroposphere is still sufficiently dry to allow intense evaporation of raindrops. Because this coincides with the time of the year that the surface is the least protected by the vegetative residue, the premonsoon wind speed leads to the highest observed dust concentration in our record. Most of the highest wind speed occur before or just at the beginning of a rainy event allowing a large part of the dust raised to be transported ahead the rain limiting dust removal by wet scavenging. Finally, we show that the number of 5-min dust concentration higher than 5,000 μg m−3 is almost only occurring during the rainy season. These results suggest that until the dust models fail to correctly resolve MCS, it will be difficulty to obtain reliable estimates of dust emission from the Sahel for the present or future scenarios.
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hal-03553552 , version 1 (02-02-2022)



Gilles Bergametti, Jean-Louis Rajot, B. Marticorena, A. Féron, C. Gaimoz, et al.. Rain, Wind, and Dust Connections in the Sahel. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2022, 127 (3), pp.e2021JD035802. ⟨10.1029/2021JD035802⟩. ⟨hal-03553552⟩
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