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The NMMB/BSC-Dust model

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The NMMB/BSC-Dust (Pérez et al., 2011; Haustein et al., 2012) is an online multi-scale atmospheric dust model designed and developed at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS) in collaboration with the NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), the NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). The dust model is fully embedded into the Non-hydrostatic Multiscale Model NMMB developed at NCEP (Janjic, 2005; Janjic and Black, 2007; Janjic et al., 2011) and is intended to provide short to medium-range dust forecasts for both regional and global domains.

The NMMB/BSC-Dust model can become a useful research tool that will improve our understanding of the dust cycle by bridging the gap among the multiple scales involved. These developments represent the first step towards a unified multiscale chemical-weather prediction system (Jorba et al., 2012).

Main features

The NMMB/BSC-Dust model solves the mass balance equation for dust taking into account the following processes: 
  • Dust generation and uplift by surface wind and turbulence. A physically-based dust emission scheme which explicitly takes account saltation and sandblasting processes (White, 1979; Marticorena and Bergametti, 1995; Marticorena et al., 1997) and assumes a viscous sublayer between the smooth desert surface and the lowest model layer (Janjic, 1994; Nickovic et al., 2001). 
  • To specify the soil size distribution we use the soil textures of the hybrid STATSGO-FAO soil map. In this database, the FAO two-layer 5-minute global soil texture is remapped into a global 30-second regular latitude-longitude grid. 4 soil populations are used in the model distinguishing among fine-medium sand and coarse sand according to the criteria used in Tegen et al. (2002). The dust vertical flux is distributed according to D’Almeida (1987) and then distributed over each 8 dust size transport bins with intervals taken from Tegen and Lacis (1996) and Pérez et al. (2006). For the source function, the model uses the topographic preferential source approach after Ginoux et al. (2001) and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) vegetation fraction climatology (Ignatov and Gutman, 1998).
  • Soil wetness effects on dust production (Fécan et al. 1999).
  • Horizontal and vertical advection (Janjic et al., 2009).
  • Horizontal diffusion and vertical transport by turbulence and convection (Janjic et al., 2009).
  • Dry deposition and gravitational settling (Zhang et al., 2001).
  • Wet removal which includes in-cloud and below-cloud scavenging from convective and stratiform clouds (Betts, 1986; Betts and Miller, 1986; Janjic, 1994; Ferrier et al., 2002).
  • Furthermore, in order to take into account the effects of aerosols and mineral dust interactively, the rapid radiative transfer model (RRTM) (Mlawer et al., 1997) is implemented in the model.

The NMMB/BSC-Dust model has been evaluated at regional and global scales (Pérez et al., 2011; Haustein et al., 2012). At the global scale, the model lies within the top range of AEROCOM dust models in terms of performance statistics for surface concentration, deposition and aerosol optical depth (AOD). At regional scale, the model reproduces significantly well the daily variability and seasonal spatial distribution of the dust optical depth over Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe. 


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