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Identification of Dust Sources in a Saharan Dust Hot-Spot and Their Implementation in a Dust-Emission Model

By Stefanie Feuerstein and Kerstin Schepanski


Although mineral dust plays a key role in the Earth&#8217;s climate system and in climate and weather prediction, models still have difficulties in predicting the amount and distribution of mineral dust in the atmosphere. One reason for this is the limited understanding of the distribution of dust sources and their behavior with respect to their spatiotemporal variability in activity. For a better estimation of the atmospheric dust load, this paper presents an approach to localize dust sources and thereby estimate the sediment supply for a study area centered on the A&#239;r Massif in Niger with a north&#8315;south extent of 16<inline-formula> <math display="inline"> <semantics> <msup> <mrow></mrow> <mo>∘</mo> </msup> </semantics> </math> </inline-formula>&#8315;22<inline-formula> <math display="inline"> <semantics> <msup> <mrow></mrow> <mo>∘</mo> </msup> </semantics> </math> </inline-formula> N and an east&#8315;west extent of 4<inline-formula> <math display="inline"> <semantics> <msup> <mrow></mrow> <mo>∘</mo> </msup> </semantics> </math> </inline-formula>&#8315;12<inline-formula> <math display="inline"> <semantics> <msup> <mrow></mrow> <mo>∘</mo> </msup> </semantics> </math> </inline-formula> E. This approach uses optical Sentinel-2 data at visible and near infrared wavelengths together with HydroSHEDS flow accumulation data to localize ephemeral riverbeds. Visible channels from Sentinel-2 data are used to detect sand sheets and dunes. The identified sediment supply map was compared to the dust source activation frequency derived from the analysis of <i>Desert-Dust-RGB</i> imagery from the Meteosat Second Generation series of satellites. This comparison reveals the strong connection between dust activity, prevailing meteorology and sediment supply. In a second step, the sediment supply information was implemented in a dust-emission model. The simulated emission flux shows how much the model results benefit from the updated sediment supply information in localizing the main dust sources and in retrieving the seasonality of dust activity from these sources. The described approach to characterize dust sources can be implemented in other regional model studies, or even globally, and can thereby help to get a more accurate picture of dust source distribution and a more realistic estimation of the atmospheric dust load

Topics: dust source characterization, dust source activation frequency, dust-emission model, remote sensing, Sentinel-2, geomorphology and land cover, Science, Q
Publisher: MDPI AG
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.3390/rs11010004
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