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Introduction

DRUMS is the acronym of DeseRt dUst Modeling : performance and Sensitivity evalution.

The aim of the project is to develop a regional dust model which simulates reliably the mineral dust cycle at temporal scales ranging from the individual dust event to multi-annual scales for both research and more applicative purposes. The main steps are (i) the development of a regional meteorological dust model by implementing specific parameterizations of dust emission, transport and deposition on-line in the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model, (ii) the evaluation of the quality of the resulting regional dust simulations, and (iii) the evaluation of the sensitivity of the simulations to main drivers of the mineral dust cycle: the meteorological forcing and the surface properties in the dust source regions. This model will serve as a base for the development of a dedicated dust modeling and forecasting platform to be used and distributed by NUMTECH. To estimate the performances and sensitivity of the simulations performed with the new modeling platform, a simulation domain (45°N-0°N; 45°W-55°E) will be centered on the North of Africa, the region where dust emissions are the most intense on Earth and can be simulated using the most relevant data set of surface properties available in the scientific community. The sensitivity of the simulations to the meteorological forcings will be based on comparisons between simulations performed with the meteorological products provided respectively by the US and European meteorological centers for the 2006-2008 period with a spatial resolution of the order of 1°×1°. Meteorological fields downscaled at spatial resolutions of 0.5°×0.5° and 0.25°×0.25° will be produced using the WRF model and used for sensitivity analyses. The sensitivity to the surface properties and in particular to their spatial resolution will also be quantified. A specific validation data set will also be produced by compiling a large set of experimental data provided by the recent field campaigns (AMMA, SAMUM-1, DODO), long-term aerosol monitoring over West Africa and the Mediterranean basin (AERONET, Sahelian Dust Transect, DEMO deposition network) and recent satellite products providing data on the aerosol atmospheric load and the vertical distribution (MODIS visible and deep blue AOD, PARASOL AOD, CALIPSO vertical profiles). The level of agreement with observations will be quantified by using statistical indicators adapted from the ones developed to qualify air pollution models. The main final output of this work will be an optimized and qualified regional dust model which will constitute the basis for a future dust operational platform distributed by NUMTECH for civil and military objectives/clients around the world. Moreover, this project will provide a complete and objective evaluation of the current main biases and limitations of the dust models, which will help drawing future orientations to improve the 3-D dust models.