Analysis of winter dust activity off the coast of West Africa using a new 24-year over-water advanced very high resolution radiometer satellite dust climatology

Authors

  • Amato T. Evan,

    1. Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    2. Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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  • Andrew K. Heidinger,

    1. Office of Research and Applications, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, NOAA, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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  • Peter Knippertz

    1. Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
    2. Now at Institute of Atmospheric Physics, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany.
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Abstract

[1] A 24-year (1982–2005) winter daytime advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) data set has been processed utilizing a new over-water dust detection algorithm. The dust data are for the oceanic regions surrounding West Africa and provide a long-term remotely sensed continuous record of dustiness in the region. These AVHRR dust observations are comparable to dust records produced via the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer and Meteosat instruments. Strong positive correlations between the wintertime Jones North Atlantic Oscillation index and this dust record are observed across the entire oceanic region, corroborating earlier studies on the relationship between the two. Also consistent with previous investigations, we find more regional positive and negative correlations between dust and the wintertime Niño 3.4 index and summertime Sahelian precipitation, respectively. Also, unique to satellite studies of interannual dust variability over the North Atlantic, we develop a wintertime AVHRR normalized difference vegetation index time series for the Sahel region. A strong relationship is seen between tropical North Atlantic dustiness and this vegetation index, suggesting the possibility that vegetation changes in the Sahel play an important role in variability of downwind dustiness.

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