Role of dust direct radiative effect on the tropical rainbelt over Middle East and North Africa: A high resolution AGCM study

Hamza Kunhu Bangalath, Georgiy L. Stenchikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


To investigate the influence of direct radiative effect of dust on the tropical summer rainbelt across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the present study utilizes the high resolution capability of an Atmospheric General Circulation Model (AGCM),the High Resolution Atmospheric Model (HiRAM). Ensembles of Atmospheric Model Inter-comparison Project (AMIP)-style simulations have been conducted with and without dust radiative impacts, to differentiate the influence of dust on the tropical rainbelt. The analysis focuses on summer season. The results highlight the role of dust induced responses in global and regional scale circulations in determining the strength and the latitudinal extent of the tropical rainbelt. A significant response in the strength and position of the local Hadley circulation is predicted in response to meridionally asymmetric distribution of dust and the corresponding radiative effects. Significant responses are also found in regional circulation features such as African Easterly Jet (AEJ) and West African Monsoon (WAM) circulation. Consistent with these dynamic responses at various scales, the tropical rainbelt across MENA strengthens and shifts northward. Importantly, the summer precipitation over the semi-arid strip south of Sahara, including Sahel, increases up to 20%. As this region is characterized by the “Sahel drought" , the predicted precipitation sensitivity to the dust loading over this region has a wide-range of socioeconomic implications. Overall, the study demonstrates the extreme importance of incorporating dust radiative effects and the corresponding circulation responses at various scales, in the simulations and future projections of this region's climate.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4564-4584
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 22 2015


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