Long-term variability in Saharan dust transport and its link to North Atlantic sea surface temperature Academic Article uri icon


  • An understanding of the atmospheric distribution of Saharan dust is crucial for understanding many Earth-system processes. We demonstrate here a model simulation indicating that the August-September dust amount in the Tropical Atlantic is linked to the basin-wide North Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST). The increasing SSTs from 1979 to 2005 are associated with a strengthening cyclonic anomaly at 700 hPa in the tropical East Atlantic, reducing Saharan dust outflow into the Tropical Atlantic at latitudes between 10-20N. A decreasing dust amount over the same region is also observed by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer. Given the previously observed anti-correlation between dust and tropical cyclone (TC) activity, the long-term variation of North Atlantic SST can then directly influence TC activity by changing a TC's maximum potential intensity and indirectly by modulating the transport of the dust-laden Saharan Air Layer. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Wong, S., Dessler, A. E., Mahowald, N. M., Colarco, P. R., & da Silva, A.

citation count

  • 28

complete list of authors

  • Wong, Sun||Dessler, Andrew E||Mahowald, Natalie M||Colarco, Peter R||da Silva, Arlindo

publication date

  • April 2008