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A three year program is proposed to study the effects of Saharan African dust on the development and intensity of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic. Using cloud-resolving real-data simulations with RAMS, both the direct radiative heating effects of Saharan dust and the indirect effects of dust on precipitation processes will be explored. At least three cases will be selected from the CAMEX sequence for which Saharan African dust was present (e.g., Chantal during CAMEX4 in 2001; Debby, Ernesto, and Gordon during NAMMA/SALEX in 2006). Other cases may also be selected for the 2008 and 2009 hurricane season (if applicable) to make use of CloudSat data. We will test the hypothesis that dust aerosols inhibit tropical cyclogenesis by varying the dust aerosols concentration within a wide range encompassing the observed values in our sensitivity experiments. The tropical cyclone simulations will also be validated against CAMEX datasets for the experiments with dust aerosol concentration closest to the observed value. The Maximum Likelihood Ensemble Filter (MLEF) will be used to estimate dust aerosol concentrations and their activity as cloud-nucleating aerosol from the Saharan Air Layer in the immediate environment of tropical cyclones using a suite of satellite sensors. We will examine how retrieved high dust loadings affect the mid-level easterly jet (MLEJ) through direct radiative heating changes in the thermal wind balance. In addition, indirect effects of dust through alterations in precipitation processes wherein dust can serve as cloud-nucleating aerosol will be explored. Furthermore, we will also incorporate sea spray’s contribution to cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and giant CCN (GCCN) in RAMS. Collaboration with Prof. Chris Kummerow’s group is planned in which he will help us access and process satellite data and we will provide him with model output data for use in simulating satellite retrieval algorithms.

Project PI: William Cotton/Colorado State University

1371 Campus Delivery Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523-1371

Phone: (970)491-8593

Fax: (970)491-8449



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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 15, 2010


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