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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Roles of saltation, sandblasting, and wind speed variability on mineral dust aerosol size distribution during the Puerto Rican Dust Experiment (PRIDE)


Recent field observations demonstrate that a significant discrepancy exists between models and measurements of large dust aerosol particles at remote sites. We assess the fraction of this bias explained by assumptions involving four different dust production processes. These include dust source size distribution (constant or dynamically changing according to saltation and sandblasting theory), wind speed distributions (using mean wind or a probability density function (PDF)), parent soil aggregate size distribution, and the discretization (number of bins) in the dust size distribution. The Dust Entrainment and Deposition global model is used to simulate the measurements from the Puerto Rican Dust Experiment (PRIDE) (2000). Using wind speed PDFs from observed National Centers for Environmental Prediction winds results in small changes in downwind size distribution for the production which neglects sandblasting, but it results in significant changes when production includes sandblasting. Saltation-sandblasting generally produces more large dust particles than schemes which neglect sandblasting. Parent soil aggregate size distribution is an important factor when calculating size-distributed dust emissions. Changing from a soil with large grains to a soil with smaller grains increases by 50% the fraction of large aerosols (D >5 μm) modeled at Puerto Rico. Assuming that the coarse medium sand typical of West Africa dominates all source regions produces the best agreement with PRIDE observations.

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