Comprehensive validation study of atmospheric mineral dust products from the MACC-II reanalysis.

A new study on validation of mineral dust products from the MACC-II (Monitoring Atmospheric Composition & Climate, Phase II) model from European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has been published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal (Discussion).

This work, led by researchers at the Izaña Atmospheric Research Center (AEMET), and with the participation of researchers from ECMWF, Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC, Spain), CNRS (France), University of Lille (France), National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA, Spain) and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, evaluates the quality of different mineral dust products from a reanalysis of the MACC-II/ECMWF model, which has been specially optimized for atmospheric mineral dust parameters for the period 2007-2008 in a large region covering northern Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

The evaluation was carried out in a geographical domain of great interest because it includes two of the most important mineral dust sources in the world: the Sahara-Sahel and the Middle East (Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries). This evaluation is one of the most comprehensive that has been made to date. We used spatial distributions of aerosol optical depth (AOD) from three sensors flying aboard satellites (MISR, MODIS and OMI) using MISR (Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer) as a reference, in-situ measurements in twenty six AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork) stations located in eight geographically distinct regions, PM10 in-situ concentrations (surface dust concentration) at three stations in the Sahel, part of the AMMA (African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis) project, and vertical extinction profiles at two ground lidar sites located in Tenerife (Spain) and M’Bour (Senegal), respectively, and CALIOP (Cloud-Aerosol lidar with Orthogonal Polarization) aboard CALIPSO.


Spatial distribution of averaged aerosol optical depth for each season (2007-2008) from MACC-II, MISR, MODIS and OMI.

This paper analyzes the daily, monthly, seasonal and interannual variability of different parameters accounting for atmospheric dust content, and also makes a critical analysis of the limitations of the observations used in this validation exercise, since mineral dust is not measured directly by any of the observation techniques.

The results of this study show that the spatial and temporal variability (seasonal and interannual) of aerosol optical depth (AOD) shows excellent agreement with that shown by satellite sensors. The ability of MACC-II to reproduce AOD, Ångström exponent (AE) and dust optical depth (DOD), both daily and seasonal scale, is very good in all regions studied, although the correlation is significantly higher in dust transport regions (Mediterranean basin and North Atlantic) than in dust source regions (Sahara and Arabian peninsula). MACC-II also solves well the dust vertical distribution above the marine layer mixing, and shows a very reasonable agreement with the daily, seasonal and interannual variations of PM10 at the three stations forming the Sahelian transect.

Vertical profiles of averaged optical extinction, for different seasons, from MACC-II (red), the MPL lidar at Santa Cruz de Tenerife (black), and CALIOP / CALIPSO (blue)

Dust data from MACC-II reanalysis may play an important role in health and energy (solar energy) related activities in regions where there is little observational data on-site and where satellites have great difficulty to provide accurate observations due to high ground reflectivity (desert areas).
This article has been realized as part of the MACC-II project activities in which AEMET actively participates representing the “Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (SDS-WAS)” Regional Center for Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe, operated jointly with the BSC.

The full article reference is:

Cuevas, E., Camino, C., Benedetti, A., Basart, S., Terradellas, E., Baldasano, J. M., Morcrette, J.-J., Marticorena, B., Goloub, P., Mortier, A., Berjón, A., Hernández, Y., Gil-Ojeda, M., and Schulz, M.: The MACC-II 2007–2008 reanalysis: atmospheric dust evaluation and characterization over Northern Africa and Middle East, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 14, 27797-27879, doi:10.5194/acpd-14-27797-2014, 2014.

It is available at:

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