Dust production models (DPM) used to estimate vertical fluxes of mineral dust aerosols over arid regions need accurate data on soil and surface properties. The Laboratoire Inter-Universitaire des Systemes Atmospheriques (LISA) data set was developed for Northern Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia. This regional data set was built through dedicated field campaigns and include, among others, the aerodynamic roughness length, the smooth roughness length of the erodible fraction of the surface, and the dry (undisturbed) soil size distribution. Recently, satellite-derived roughness length and high-resolution soil texture data sets at the global scale have emerged and provide the opportunity for the use of advanced schemes in global models. This paper analyzes the behavior of the ERS satellite-derived global roughness length and the State Soil Geographic data base-Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (STATSGO-FAO) soil texture data set (based on wet techniques) using an advanced DPM in comparison to the LISA data set over Northern Africa and the Middle East. We explore the sensitivity of the drag partition scheme (a critical component of the DPM) and of the dust vertical fluxes (intensity and spatial patterns) to the roughness length and soil texture data sets. We also compare the use of the drag partition scheme to a widely used preferential source approach in global models. Idealized experiments with prescribed wind speeds show that the ERS and STATSGO-FAO data sets provide realistic spatial patterns of dust emission and friction velocity thresholds in the region. Finally, we evaluate a dust transport model for the period of March to July 2011 with observed aerosol optical depths from Aerosol Robotic Network sites. Results show that ERS and STATSGO-FAO provide realistic simulations in the region.
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