In this study we (1) mapped the areal extent of current dust sources over Northern Africa between 8°W-31°E and 22°N - Mediterranean coast; and (2) identified and characterized the geomorphic units and soil types that emit dust from these areas. We used the full resolution (3 km) data from the MSG-SEVIRI to map dust sources over a 2-year period between 2005-2006, and examined these regions with remotely sensed images and geomorphic and soil maps. A total of >2600 individual dust emission events were mapped; with frequency up to 34 events in the 2-year study period. The areal extent of dust emission sources exhibited a lognormal distribution with most sources ranging from 20 to 130 km2. Most dust events were singular and related to a variety of specific geomorphic units. Dust events that created hotspots were mostly located over playas and fluvial landforms, and to a lesser extent over sand dunes and anthropogenic affected regions. About 20% of dust hotspots were offset a few kilometers from clear geomorphic units. Quantitative analysis of emissions revealed that dust sourced from various geomorphic units, among them playas (12%) and fluvial systems (10%). The importance of sand dunes as dust-emission sources greatly differs between examined datasets (7% vs. 30%). Our study emphasizes the importance of scattered dust emission events that are not considered as hotspots, as these sources are usually neglected in dust emission modeling.
- Dust source geomorphology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)