Dust Constraints from joint Observational-Modelling-experiMental analysis (DustCOMM): comparison with measurements and model simulations

Adebiyi, Adeyemi A. ; Kok, Jasper F. ; Wang, Yang ; Ito, Akinori ; Ridley, David A. ; Nabat, Pierre ; Zhao, Chun

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<p align="justify"><strong>Abstract.</strong> Mineral dust is the most abundant aerosol species by mass in the atmosphere, and it impacts global climate, biogeochemistry, and human health. Understanding these varied impacts on the Earth system requires accurate knowledge of dust abundance, size, and optical properties, and how they vary in space and time. However, current global models show substantial biases against measurements of these dust properties. For instance, recent studies suggest that atmospheric dust is substantially coarser and more aspherical than accounted for in models, leading to persistent biases in modelled impacts of dust on the Earth system. Here, we facilitate more accurate constraints on dust impacts by developing a new dataset: Dust Constraints from joint Observational-Modelling-experiMental analysis (DustCOMM). This dataset combines an ensemble of global model simulations with observational and experimental constraints on dust size distribution and shape to obtain more accurate constraints on three-dimensional (3-D) atmospheric dust properties than is possible from global model simulations alone. Specifically, we present annual and seasonal climatologies of the 3-D dust size distribution, 3-D dust mass extinction efficiency at 550 nm, and two-dimensional (2-D) atmospheric dust loading. Comparisons with independent measurements taken over several locations, heights, and seasons show that DustCOMM estimates consistently outperform conventional global model simulations. In particular, DustCOMM achieves a substantial reduction in the bias relative to measured dust size distributions in the 0.5-20 <span class="inline-formula">µ</span>m diameter range. Furthermore, DustCOMM reproduces measurements of dust mass extinction efficiency to almost within the experimental uncertainties, whereas global models generally overestimate the mass extinction efficiency. DustCOMM thus provides more accurate constraints on 3-D dust properties, and as such can be used to improve global models or serve as an alternative to global model simulations in constraining dust impacts on the Earth system.</p>
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