Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Northeast Asian dust storms: Real-time numerical prediction and validation



[1] This study is concerned with the quantitative prediction of dust storms in real time. An integrated wind erosion modeling system is used for 24-, 48-, and 72-hour forecasts of northeast Asian dust events for March and April 2002. The predictions are validated with synoptic records from the meteorological network and dust concentration measurements at 12 stations in China, Japan, and Korea. The predicted spatial patterns and temporal evolutions of dust events and the predicted near-surface dust concentrations are found to agree well with the observations. The validation confirms the capacity of the modeling system in quantitative forecasting of dust events in real time. On the basis of the predictions, dust activities in northeast Asia are examined using quantities such as dust emission, deposition, and load. During an individual dust episode, dust sources and intensities vary in space and time, but on average the Gobi Desert, the Hexi (Yellow River West) Corridor, the Chaidam Basin, the Tulufan Basin, and the fringes of the Talimu and Zhunge'er Basins are identified to be the main source regions. The Gobi Desert is the strongest dust source, where the maximum dust emission reaches 5000 μg m−2 s−1 and the net dust emission reaches 16 t km−2 d−1 in March and April 2002. Net dust deposition covers a large area, with the Loess Plateau receiving about 1.6 to 4.3 t km−2 d−1. A zone of high dust load exists along the northern boundary of the Tibet Plateau, with a maximum of around 2 t km−2 situated over the Gobi Desert. The total dust emission, total dust deposition, and total dust load for the domain of the simulation are estimated. The average (maximum) total dust emission is 11.5 × 106 (65.7 × 106) t d−1, the average (maximum) total dust deposition is 10.8 × 106 (51.4 × 106) t d−1, and the average (maximum) total dust load is 5.5 × 106 (15.9 × 106) t.