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Improved Parameterization for the Size Distribution of Emitted Dust Aerosols Reduces Model Underestimation of Super Coarse Dust


Aircraft measurement campaigns have revealed that super coarse dust (diameter >10 μm) surprisingly accounts for approximately a quarter of aerosols by mass in the atmosphere. However, most global aerosol models either underestimate or do not include super coarse dust abundance. To address this problem, we use brittle fragmentation theory to develop a parameterization for the emitted dust size distribution that includes emission of super coarse dust. We implement this parameterization in the Community Earth System Model (CESM) and find that it brings the model in good agreement with aircraft measurements of super coarse dust close to dust source regions. However, the CESM still underestimates super coarse dust in dust outflow regions. Thus, we conclude that the model underestimation of super coarse atmospheric dust is in part due to the underestimation of super coarse dust emission and likely in part due to errors in deposition processes.

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