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Jainn J. Shi
,
Scott A. Braun
,
Zhining Tao
, and
Toshihisa Matsui

Abstract

This study uses a model with aerosol–cloud–radiation coupling to examine the impact of Saharan dust and other aerosols on Hurricane Nadine (2012). To study aerosol direct (radiation) and indirect (cloud microphysics) effects from individual, as well as all aerosol species, eight different NU-WRF Model simulations were conducted. In several simulations, aerosols led to storm strengthening, followed by weakening relative to the control simulation. This variability of the aerosol impact may be related to whether aerosols are ingested into clouds within the outer rainbands or the eyewall. Upper-tropospheric aerosol concentrations indicate vertical transport of all aerosol types in the outer bands but only vertical transport of sea salt in the inner core. The results suggest that aerosols, particularly sea salt, may have contributed to a stronger initial intensification but that aerosol ingestion into the outer bands at later times may have weakened the storm in the longer term. In most aerosol experiments, aerosols led to a reduction in cloud and precipitation hydrometeors, the exception being the dust-only case that produced periods of enhanced hydrometeor growth. The Saharan air layer (SAL) also impacted Nadine by causing a region of strong easterlies impinging on the eastern side of the storm. At the leading edge of these easterlies, cool and dry air near the top of the SAL was being ingested into the outer-band convection. This midlevel low-equivalent-potential-temperature air gradually lowered toward the surface and eventually contributed to significant cold-pool activity in the eastern rainband and in the northeast quadrant of the storm. Such enhanced downdraft activity could have led to weakening of the storm, but it is not presently possible to quantify this impact.

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Zhining Tao
,
Scott A. Braun
,
Jainn J. Shi
,
Mian Chin
,
Dongchul Kim
,
Toshihisa Matsui
, and
Christa D. Peters-Lidard

Abstract

A Saharan air layer (SAL) event associated with a nondeveloping African easterly wave (AEW) over the main development region of the eastern Atlantic was sampled by the NASA Global Hawk aircraft on 24–25 August 2013 during the NASA Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) campaign and was simulated with the NASA Unified Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) Model. Airborne, ground-based, and spaceborne measurements were used to evaluate the model performance. The microphysical and radiative effects of dust and other aerosols on the SAL structure and environment were investigated with the factor-separation method. The results indicate that relative to a simulation without dust–radiative and microphysical impacts, Saharan dust and other aerosols heated the SAL air mainly through shortwave heating by the direct aerosol–radiation (AR) effect, resulting in a warmer (up to 0.6 K) and drier (up to 5% RH reduction) SAL and maintaining the strong temperature inversion at the base of the SAL in the presence of predominant longwave cooling. Radiative heating of the dust accentuated a vertical circulation within the dust layer, in which air rose (sank) in the northern (southern) portions of the dust layer. Furthermore, above and to the south of the dust layer, both the microphysical and radiative impacts of dust tended to counter the vertical motions associated with the Hadley circulation, causing a small weakening and southward shift of convection in the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) and reduced anvil cloud to the north. Changes in moisture and cloud/precipitation hydrometeors were largely driven by the dust-induced changes in vertical motion. Dust strengthened the African easterly jet by up to ~1 m s−1 at the southern edge of the jet, primarily through the AR effect, and produced modest increases in vertical wind shear within and in the vicinity of the dust layer. These modulations of the SAL and AEW environment clearly contributed to the nondevelopment of this AEW.

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