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Analysis of a Severe Dust Storm Event over China: Application of the WRF-Dust Model

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Volume: 11 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 419-428
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2011.04.0053
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Hai Bian1, Xuexi Tie2,3, Junji Cao 3, Zhuming Ying4, Suqin Han1, Yong Xue5

  • 1 Tianjin Meteorological Bureau, Tianjin, China
  • 2 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3 SKLLQG, Institute of Earth Environment Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Xian, China
  • 4 Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, York University, Toronto, Canada
  • 5 Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China


A severe dust storm (SDS) event occurred during March-20 to March-22, 2010 in China. A regional dynamical model coupled with a dust model (WRF-Dust) is used for analyzing this SDS event. The distribution of API (air pollution index) values in China and satellite (moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer—MODIS) AOD (aerosol optical depth) data are used to trace the dust storm and to compare with the model result. Several model sensitive studies are performed to analyze the roles of physical processes (such as dust source, transport, and deposition) in controlling the SDS event. The result suggests that the Gobi Desert is a major dust source of the SDS event. By contrast, the Taklamakan Desert plays minor roles for affecting the high dust concentrations in eastern/southern China during the SDS event. This study also suggests that a large amount of dust particles was deposited at the surface during the transport pathway between the Gobi Desert and eastern/southern China, and the high surface concentrations of dust particles can be considered as a new dust source region, which produced dust air pollution when surface winds were strong. In this study, we define this process as a propagate dust source (PDS). The calculation shows that the calculated dust concentrations were considerably lower than the measured values in the downwind regions of deserts when the PDS process was not included in the model. By including the PDS process, the calculated dust pollution in eastern and southern China is considerably improved. The further detailed analysis shows that the PDS played important roles in controlling the long-range transport of dust particles during the SDS event. This study suggests that this regional dust model (WRF-Dust) is a useful tool to analyze the important processes of dust storms that are often occurred in China.


Severe dust storm Eastern China WRF-Dust model

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