Modeling the transport of Saharan dust toward the Mediterranean region: an important issue for its ecological implications

Angelo Riccio, Elena Chianese, Laura Tositti, Daniela Baldacci, Silvia Sandrini



Airborne particulate matter (PM) is presently an environmental problem of primary concern, whose role in air quality, climatic and ecological issues is well recognized, though still a matter of extensive investigations (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007).

It is of great scientific interest to detect sources of atmospheric particulate matter and quantify their influence on the global and local scales. Unfortunately, emissions are usually not directly available, while PM concentration time series are experimentally accessible, so that the problem often consists in "inverting" these data to determine the region of influence that caused the measured concentration. In this paper we are concerned with an alternative approach to inverse modeling based on backward trajectory analysis (BTA); this approach has the potential to overcome some limitations associated with traditional BTA.

We apply this method to the analysis of PM time series from the Monte Cimone observatory, hereafter MCT, a high altitude station on the top of the Italian Northern Apennines, with the aim of estimate the contribution of Saharan dust transport on PM concentration levels registered in the Mediterranean region.


particulate matter; Saharan dust; inverse modeling; trajectory analysis

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