EGU22-3391
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-3391
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Atmospheric rivers drive exceptional Saharan dust transport towards Europe and subsequent snow melt in the Alps.

Diana Francis1, Ricardo Fonseca1, Narendra Nelli1, Deniz Bozkurt2, Ghislain Picard3, and Bin Guan4
Diana Francis et al.
  • 1Khalifa University, UAE, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (diana.francis@ku.ac.ae)
  • 2Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile
  • 3University Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble, France
  • 4Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, USA

This study highlights the occurrence of atmospheric rivers (ARs) over northwest Africa towards Europe, which were accompanied by intense episodes of Saharan dust transport all the way to Scandinavia, in the winter season. Using a combination of observational and reanalysis data, we investigate two extreme dusty AR events in February 2021 and assess their impact on snow melt in the Alps. The warm, moist, and dusty air mass (spatially-averaged 2-meter temperature and water vapour mixing ratio anomalies of up to 8 K and 3 g kg−1, and aerosol optical depths and dust loadings of up to 0.85 and 11 g m−2, respectively) led to a 50% and 40% decrease in snow depth and surface albedo, respectively, in less than one month during the winter season. ARs over northwest Africa show increasing trends over the past 4 decades, with 78% of AR events associated with severe dust episodes over Europe. 
This study was published recently in Atmospheric Research (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2021.105959).

How to cite: Francis, D., Fonseca, R., Nelli, N., Bozkurt, D., Picard, G., and Guan, B.: Atmospheric rivers drive exceptional Saharan dust transport towards Europe and subsequent snow melt in the Alps., EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3391, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-3391, 2022.

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