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Impacts of intense aerosol episodes in the western Mediterranean region

Collectif Aérosols

Our objective is to assess the various impacts of transport and deposition of high aerosol episodes (desert dust, forest fires, anthropogenic pollution) which are frequent in the western Mediterranean and likely become more frequent with climate change.

Although the European scientific community has a significant background in aerosol studies in the Mediterranean, the recognized significant impacts of these high aerosol episodes on the radiative budget (e.g. heat waves, photochemistry, Med. Sea energy budget), air quality (PM threshold exceeds), and marine biogeochemistry (nutrient and micronutrient inputs) are yet poorly documented. We suggest an integrated mid-term national strategy to address these impacts.

A preliminary field study of mineral and organic aerosol optical and hygroscopic properties in Corsica is proposed in conjunction with aerosol remote sensing. It would also help to set up an atmospheric aerosol and chemistry observatory in Corsica (poster by Gheusi et al.). Air quality data analysis and regional model simulations would be performed to check the frequency of high PM events in selected places (e.g. Marseille-Berre) and the contribution of desert dust. The chemical characterization of anthropogenic and dust aerosols including assessment of their deposition and laboratory study of their solubility would also be performed in collaboration with initiatives for fertilization experiments (e.g. poster by Guieu et al.).

In the longer term, modelling, experimental work and satellite remote sensing will address the regional scale including the whole western Mediterranean and nearby countries. We suggest that a large coordinated summer field experiment that could be part of HyMEx, involving a surface network of stations, ship and aircraft measurements, could cope with the needs of both the study of large-scale intense aerosol episodes and modulation of the energy budget at the surface, and of an in situ mesoscale marine fertilization with aerosols.