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Dust in the wind



In Niamey, Niger, the ARM Mobile Facility collected atmospheric data from January through December 2006.

In March 2006, a major dust storm occurred in Niamey, Niger. Although a common occurrence, this was the first time both satellite- and ground-based instruments were used simultaneously to assess the impact of airborne Saharan dust on incoming and outgoing solar radiation. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists involved in the study are members of the science team for the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program.

For this study, the researchers gathered data obtained from satellite observations and from the ARM Mobile Facility (AMF), a portable atmospheric research facility, temporarily deployed to Niamey.

They entered these measurements into climate models to see how well the models would simulate the impact of the dust on the solar radiation balance. Using a broader data set from the AMF deployment, PNNL researchers will calculate the long-term warming and cooling effects of Saharan dust and the warming and cooling effects of aerosols in climate models.

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