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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 154368, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/154368
Research Article

An Assessment of the Efficiency of Dust Regional Modelling to Predict Saharan Dust Transport Episodes

1Laboratory of Agricultural Engineering and Environment, Institute of Technology and Management of Agricultural Ecosystems, Centre for Research and Technology—Thessaly, Technology Park of Thessaly, 1st Industrial Area of Volos, 38500 Volos, Greece
2Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Campus Box 149, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
3Institute for Space Applications & Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, Metaxa and Vas. Paulou street, 15236 Penteli, Greece
4Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, P.O.Box 2208, Voutes, 71003 Heraklion, Greece
5Earth Sciences Division, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Nexus II Building, c/ Jordi Girona 29, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
6Earth Institute at Columbia University, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and International Research Institute for Climate and Society, 405 Low Library, MC 4335, 535 West 116th Street, NY 10027, USA

Received 17 May 2010; Accepted 19 July 2010

Academic Editor: Harry D. Kambezidis

Copyright © 2010 D. K. Papanastasiou 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.

Abstract

Aerosol levels at Mediterranean Basin are significantly affected by desert dust that is eroded in North Africa and is transported northwards. This study aims to assess the performance of the Dust REgional Atmospheric Model (BSC-DREAM8b) in the prediction of dust outbreaks near the surface in Eastern Mediterranean. For this purpose, model PM10 predictions covering a 7-year period and PM10 observations at five surface monitoring sites in Greece are used. A quantitative criterion is set to select the significant dust outbreaks defined as those when the predicted PM10 surface concentration exceeds 12 μg/m3. The analysis reveals that significant dust transport is usually observed for 1–3 consecutive days. Dust outbreak seasons are spring and summer, while some events are also forecasted in autumn. The seasonal variability of dust transport events is different at Finokalia, where the majority of events are observed in spring and winter. Dust contributes by 19–25% to the near surface observed PM10 levels, which can be increased to more than 50 μg/m3 during dust outbreaks, inducing violations of the air quality standards. Dust regional modeling can be regarded as a useful tool for air quality managers when assessing compliance with air quality limit values.