EGU21-11644, updated on 17 Jan 2023
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A 10-year regional reanalysis of desert dust aerosol at high spatial resolution

Enza Di Tomaso1, Jerónimo Escribano1, Paul Ginoux2, Sara Basart1, Francesca Macchia1, Francesca Barnaba3, Miguel Castrillo1, Paola Formenti4, Oriol Jorba1, Lucia Mona5, Gilbert Montané1, Michail Mytilinaios5, Vincenzo Obiso1,6, Nick Schutgens7, Athanasios Votsis8, Ernest Werner9, and Carlos PérezGarcía-Pando1,10
Enza Di Tomaso et al.
  • 1Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), Princeton, NJ, USA
  • 3Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche-Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima (CNR-ISAC), Italy
  • 4LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris-Est-Créteil, Université de Paris, Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL), Créteil,France
  • 5Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche-Istituto di Metodologie per l’Analisi Ambientale (CNR-IMAA), Italy
  • 6NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), New York, NY, USA
  • 7Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 8Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Helsinki, Finland
  • 9State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), Spain
  • 10ICREA, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, Barcelona, Spain

Desert dust is the most abundant aerosol by mass residing in the atmosphere. It plays a key role in the Earth’s system by influencing the radiation balance, by affecting cloud formation and cloud chemistry, and by acting as a fertilizer for the growth of phytoplankton and for soil through its deposition over the ocean and land.

Due to the nature of its emission and transport, atmospheric dust concentrations are highly variable in space and time and, therefore, require a continuous monitoring by measurements. Dust observations are best exploited by being combined with model simulations for the production of analyses and reanalyses, i.e., complete and consistent four dimensional reconstructions of the atmosphere. Existing aerosol (and dust) reanalyses for the global domain have been produced by total aerosol constraint and at relatively coarse spatial resolution, while regional reanalyses exclude some of the regions containing the major sources of desert dust in Northern Africa and the Middle East.

We present here a 10-year reanalysis data set of desert dust at a horizontal resolution of 0.1°, and which covers the domain of Northern Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The reanalysis has been produced by assimilating in the MONARCH chemical weather prediction system (Di Tomaso et al., 2017) satellite retrievals over dust source regions with specific dust observational constraint (Ginoux et al., 2012; Pu and Ginoux, 2016).

Furthermore, we describe its evaluation in terms of data assimilation diagnostics and comparison against independent observations. Statistics of analysis departures from assimilated observations prove the consistency of the data assimilation system showing that the analysis is closer to the observations than the first-guess. Temporal mean of analysis increments show that the assimilation led to an overall reduction of dust with pattern of systematic corrections that vary with the seasons, and can be linked primarily to misrepresentation of source strength.

Independent evaluation of the analysis with AERONET observations indicates that the reanalysis data set is highly accurate, and provides therefore a reliable historical record of atmospheric desert dust concentrations in a recent decade.


Di Tomaso, E., Schutgens, N. A. J., Jorba, O., and Pérez García-Pando, C. (2017): Assimilation of MODIS Dark Target and Deep Blue observations in the dust aerosol component of NMMB-MONARCH version 1.0, Geosci. Model Dev., 10, 1107-1129.

Ginoux, P., Prospero, J. M., Gill, T. E., Hsu, N. C. and Zhao, M. (2012): Global-Scale Attribution of Anthropogenic and Natural Dust Sources and Their Emission Rates Based on Modis Deep Blue Aerosol Products. Rev Geophys 50.

Pu, B., and Ginoux, P. (2016). The impact of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on springtime dust activity in Syria. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 16(21), 13431-13448.


The authors acknowledge the DustClim project which is part of ERA4CS, an ERA-NET initiated by JPI Climate, and funded by FORMAS (SE), DLR (DE), BMWFW (AT), IFD (DK), MINECO (ES), ANR (FR) with co-funding by the European Union (435690462); PRACE (eDUST/eFRAGMENT1/eFRAGMENT2), RES (AECT-2020-3-0013/AECT-2019-3-0001/AECT-2020-1-0007) for awarding access to MareNostrum at BSC and for technical support.

How to cite: Di Tomaso, E., Escribano, J., Ginoux, P., Basart, S., Macchia, F., Barnaba, F., Castrillo, M., Formenti, P., Jorba, O., Mona, L., Montané, G., Mytilinaios, M., Obiso, V., Schutgens, N., Votsis, A., Werner, E., and PérezGarcía-Pando, C.: A 10-year regional reanalysis of desert dust aerosol at high spatial resolution, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11644,, 2021.


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