Introduction to special section: Outstanding problems in quantifying the radiative impact of mineral dust

Sokolik, Irina N. ; Winker, D. M. ; Bergametti, G. ; Gillette, D. A ; Carmichael, G. ; Kaufman, Y.J. ; Gomes, Laurent ; Schuetz, L. ; Penner, J. E.

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<p align=justify>This paper provides an introduction to the special section of the Journal of Geophysical Research on mineral dust. We briefly review the current experimental and theoretical approaches used to quantify the dust radiative impacts, highlight the outstanding issues, and discuss possible strategies to overcome the emerging problems. We also introduce the contributing papers of this special section. Despite the recent notable advances in dust studies, we demonstrate that the radiative effects of dust remain poorly quantified due to both limited data and incomplete understanding of relative physical and chemical processes. The foremost needs are (1) to quantify the spatial and temporal variations of dust burden in the atmosphere and develop a predictive capability for the size? and composition?resolved dust particle distribution; (2) to develop a quantitative description of the processes that control the spatial and temporal variabilities of dust physical and chemical properties and radiative effects; (3) to develop new instrumentation (especially to measure the dust particle size distribution in a wide range from about 0.01 ?m to 100 ?m, scattering phase function and light absorption by dust particles); and (4) to develop new techniques for interpreting and merging the diverse information from satellite remote sensing, in situ and ground?based measurements, laboratory studies, and model simulations. Because dust distribution and effects are heterogeneous, both spatially and temporally, a promising strategy to advance our knowledge is to perform comprehensive studies at the targeted regions affected by mineral dust of both natural and anthropogenic origin.</p>
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