The influence of absorbed solar radiation by Saharan dust on hurricane genesis

Bretl, Sebastian; Reutter, Philipp; Raible, Christoph C.; Ferrachat, Sylvaine; Poberaj, Christina Schnadt; Revell, Laura E.; Lohmann, Ulrike (2015). The influence of absorbed solar radiation by Saharan dust on hurricane genesis. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 120(5), pp. 1902-1917. American Geophysical Union 10.1002/2014JD022441

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To date, the radiative impact of dust and the Sahar an air layer (SAL) on North Atlantic hurricane activity is not yet known. According to previous studies, dust stabilizes the atmosphere due to absorption of solar radiation but thus shifts convection to regions more conducive for hurricane genesis. Here we analyze differences in hurricane genesis and frequency from ensemble sensitivity simulations with radiatively active and inactive dust in the aerosol-climate model ECHAM6-HAM. We investigate dust burden and other hurricane-related variables and determine their influence on disturbances which develop into
hurricanes (developing disturbances, DDs) and those which do not (nondeveloping disturbances, NDDs). Dust and the SAL are found to potentially have both inhibiting and supporting influences on background
conditions for hurricane genesis. A slight southward shift of DDs is determined when dust is active as well as a significant warming of the SAL, which leads to a strengthening of the vertical circulation associated with the SAL. The dust burden of DDs is smaller in active dust simulations compared to DDs in simulations with inactive dust, while NDDs contain more dust in active dust simulations. However, no significant influence of radiatively active dust on other variables in DDs and NDDs is found. Furthermore, no substantial change in the DD and NDD frequency due to the radiative effects of dust can be detected.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Raible, Christoph


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




American Geophysical Union




Doris Rätz

Date Deposited:

14 Sep 2015 10:28

Last Modified:

09 Oct 2015 07:32

Publisher DOI:





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