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Journal Article: BibTeX citation key:  Knippertz2008a
Knippertz, P. (2008) Dust emissions in the West African heat trough - the role of the diurnal cycle and of extratropical disturbances. IN Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 17. 553–563.
Added by: Peter Knippertz 2010-08-20 13:36:53    Last Edited by: Fanny Lefebvre 2010-12-08 17:17:26
Categories: Atmospheric processes
Keywords: Aerosol, Atmospheric Boundary Layer, Diurnal cycle, Dynamics, Precipitation, Rainfall, Sahel, Satellites, Semi-arid, Western Africa
Creators: Knippertz
Collection: Meteorologische Zeitschrift

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The summertime West African heat trough (HT) is one of the most active dust sources in the world. A detailed case study during May/June 2006 based upon analyses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and a new Meteosat dust product illustrates two important mechanisms of dust emissions in this region: (1) The dry continental-scale HT circulation exhibits a strong diurnal cycle characterized by nocturnal low-level jets and downward mixing of momentum to the surface during the build-up of the planetary boundary layer in the morning. This leads to strong gusty surface winds and dust emission, mostly along the northern side of the HT, but also within the southerly monsoon flow. Transports lead to an accumulation of dust near the axis of the HT. (2) Triggered by a lee cyclogenesis south of the Atlas Mountains, the Intertropical Discontinuity that separates dry Saharan and moist monsoonal air shifts northward and allows deep moist convection to penetrate into the Sahara. The evaporation of precipitation in the dry desert air also generates strong gusty winds and dust emissions. This study helps to clarify the physical mechanisms for a previously discovered relation between the annual cycles of dustiness on one hand and near-surface convergence and gustiness on the other hand.
Added by: Fanny Lefebvre    Last Edited by: Fanny Lefebvre