Insights into the size-resolved dust emission from field measurements in the Moroccan Sahara - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Year : 2023

Insights into the size-resolved dust emission from field measurements in the Moroccan Sahara

Martina Klose
Sylvain Dupont
Yue Huang


The particle size distribution (PSD) of mineral dust has a strong effect on the impacts of dust on climate. However, our understanding of the emitted dust PSD, including its variability and the fraction of super-coarse dust (diameter >10 µm), remains limited. Here, we provide new insights into the size-resolved dust emission process based on a field campaign performed in the Moroccan Sahara in September 2019 in the context of the FRontiers in dust minerAloGical coMposition and its Effects upoN climaTe (FRAGMENT) project. The obtained dust concentration and diffusive flux PSDs show significant dependencies upon the friction velocity (u*), wind direction and type of event (regular events versus haboob events). For instance, the number fraction of sub-micrometre particles increases with u*, along with a large decrease in the mass fraction of super-coarse dust. We identify dry deposition, which is modulated by u* and fetch length, as a potential cause for this PSD variability. Using a resistance model constrained with field observations to estimate the dry deposition flux and thereby also the emitted dust flux, we show that deposition could represent up to ∼90 % of the emission of super-coarse particles (>10 µm) and up to ∼65 % of the emission of particles as small as ∼5 µm in diameter. Importantly, removing the deposition component significantly reduces the variability with u* in the PSD of the emitted dust flux compared with the diffusive flux, particularly for super-coarse dust. The differences between regular and haboob event concentration and diffusive flux PSDs are suspected to result from a smaller and variable dust source fetch during the haboob events, and/or an increased resistance of soil aggregates to fragmentation associated with the observed increase in relative humidity along the haboob outflow. Finally, compared to the invariant emitted dust flux PSD estimated based on brittle fragmentation theory, we obtain a substantially higher proportion of super-micrometre particles in the dust flux. Overall, our results suggest that dry deposition needs to be adequately considered to estimate the emitted PSD, even in studies limited to the fine and coarse size ranges (<10 µm).
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hal-04158514 , version 1 (04-09-2023)





Cristina González-Flórez, Martina Klose, Andrés Alastuey, Sylvain Dupont, Jerónimo Escribano, et al.. Insights into the size-resolved dust emission from field measurements in the Moroccan Sahara. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2023, 23 (12), pp.7177-7212. ⟨10.5194/acp-23-7177-2023⟩. ⟨hal-04158514⟩
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