New Paper On The Role Of The Long Range Transport Of Mineral Dust And Other Aerosols By Ben-Ami Et Al 2010

In our paper

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

we presented evidence that the human role on the climate system is much broader than just that from the addition of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

There is a new paper that provides further evidence of the role of aerosols (which in this study is a combination of natural and human effects) on the climate system. The paper also documents how this effect is transported across thousands of kilometers. This new research further confirms what was concluded in

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp

that

“Several types of forcings—most notably aerosols, land-use and land-cover change, and modifications to biogeochemistry—impact the climate system in nonradiative ways, in particular by modifying the hydrological cycle and vegetation dynamics. Aerosols exert a forcing on the hydrological cycle by modifying cloud condensation nuclei, ice nuclei, precipitation efficiency, and the ratio between solar direct and diffuse radiation received.

The paper is

Ben-Ami, Y., Koren, I., Rudich, Y., Artaxo, P., Martin, S. T., and Andreae, M. O. 2010: Transport of North African dust from the Bodélé depression to the Amazon Basin: a case study, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 7533-7544, doi:10.5194/acp-10-7533-2010

with the abstract

“Through long-range transport of dust, the North-African desert supplies essential minerals to the Amazon rain forest. Since North African dust reaches South America mostly during the Northern Hemisphere winter, the dust sources active during winter are the main contributors to the forest. Given that the Bodélé depression area in southwestern Chad is the main winter dust source, a close link is expected between the Bodélé emission patterns and volumes and the mineral supply flux to the Amazon.

Until now, the particular link between the Bodélé and the Amazon forest was based on sparse satellite measurements and modeling studies. In this study, we combine a detailed analysis of space-borne and ground data with reanalysis model data and surface measurements taken in the central Amazon during the Amazonian Aerosol Characterization Experiment (AMAZE-08) in order to explore the validity and the nature of the proposed link between the Bodélé depression and the Amazon forest.

This case study follows the dust events of 11–16 and 18–27 February 2008, from the emission in the Bodélé over West Africa (most likely with contribution from other dust sources in the region) the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, to the observed effects above the Amazon canopy about 10 days after the emission. The dust was lifted by surface winds stronger than 14 m s−1, usually starting early in the morning. The lofted dust, mixed with biomass burning aerosols over Nigeria, was transported over the Atlantic Ocean, and arrived over the South American continent. The top of the aerosol layer reached above 3 km, and the bottom merged with the boundary layer. The arrival of the dusty air parcel over the Amazon forest increased the average concentration of aerosol crustal elements by an order of magnitude.”

As the climate system is investigated further, the shortcomings and incompleteness of the 2007 IPCC WG1 report become increasingly evident.

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