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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 246874, 14 pages
Research Article

Desert Dust Outbreaks over Mediterranean Basin: A Modeling, Observational, and Synoptic Analysis Approach

1LaMMA Consortium, Laboratory of Monitoring and Environmental Modeling for the Sustainable Development, Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
2IBIMET, National Research Council, Via G. Caproni 8, 50145 Florence, Italy
3Department of Chemistry, University of Florence, Via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
4INFN, National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Via G. Sansone 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
5Department of Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905, Israel
6Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Florence, Via G. Sansone 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

Received 9 March 2012; Accepted 19 June 2012

Academic Editor: Pawan Gupta

Copyright © 2012 F. Calastrini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dust intrusions from African desert regions have an impact on the Mediterranean Basin (MB), as they cause an anomalous increase of aerosol concentrations in the tropospheric column and often an increase of particulate matter at the ground level. To estimate the Saharan dust contribution to PM10, a significant dust intrusion event that occurred in June 2006 is investigated, joining numerical simulations and specific measurements. As a first step, a synoptic analysis of this episode is performed. Such analysis, based only on meteorological and aerosol optical thickness observations, does not allow the assessment of exhaustive informations. In fact, it is not possible to distinguish dust outbreaks transported above the boundary layer without any impact at the ground level from those causing deposition. The approach proposed in this work applies an ad hoc model chain to describe emission, transport and deposition dynamics. Furthermore, physical and chemical analyses (PIXE analysis and ion chromatography) were used to measure the concentration of all soil-related elements to quantify the contribution of dust particles to PM10. The comparison between simulation results and in-situ measurements show a satisfying agreement, and supports the effectiveness of the model chain to estimate the Saharan dust contribution at ground level.