Dynamics-aerosol-chemistry-cloud interactions in West Africa
Research Publications
Precipitative Processes
30 August 2018
Precipitation and Mesoscale Convective Systems: Radiative Impact of Dust over Northern Africa
Publication: AMS Monthly Weather Review (v146. p3011-3029)
DOI Number: 10.1175/MWR-D-18-0103.1
Author: Reinares Martínez, I. and J. Chaboureau
The radiative effect of dust on precipitation and mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) is examined during a case of dust emission and transport from 9 to 14 June 2006 over northern Africa. The same method to identify and track different cloud types is applied to satellite observations and two convection-permitting simulations (with grid mesh of 2.5 km), with and without the radiative effect of dust, performed with the MesoNH model. The MCSs produce most of the observed total precipitation (66%), and the long-lived systems (lasting 6 h or more) are responsible for 55% of the total. Both simulations reproduce the observed distribution of precipitation between the cloud categories but differ due to the radiative effects of dust. The overall impacts of dust are a warming of the midtroposphere; a cooling of the near surface, primarily in the western parts of northern Africa; and a decrease in precipitation due to a too-low number of long-lived MCSs. The drop in their number is due to the stabilization of the lower atmosphere, which inhibits the triggering of convection. The long-lived MCSs are a little longer lived, faster, and more efficient in rainfall production when accounting for the dust–radiation interaction. This higher degree of organization is due to the larger convective available potential energy and an intensified African easterly jet. The latter is, in turn, a response to the variation in the meridional gradient of the temperature induced by the dust.