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Sci Total Environ. 2014 Jul 15;487:82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.03.138. Epub 2014 Apr 27.

Effect of wind speed and relative humidity on atmospheric dust concentrations in semi-arid climates.

Author information

1
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, United States.
2
School of Natural Resources and the Environment, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, United States.
3
Departamento de Ciencias Básicas, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, 32538 Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
4
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, United States. Electronic address: esaez@email.arizona.edu.
5
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, United States. Electronic address: Betterton@atmo.arizona.edu.

Abstract

Atmospheric particulate have deleterious impacts on human health. Predicting dust and aerosol emission and transport would be helpful to reduce harmful impacts but, despite numerous studies, prediction of dust events and contaminant transport in dust remains challenging. In this work, we show that relative humidity and wind speed are both determinants in atmospheric dust concentration. Observations of atmospheric dust concentrations in Green Valley, AZ, USA, and Juárez, Chihuahua, México, show that PM10 concentrations are not directly correlated with wind speed or relative humidity separately. However, selecting the data for high wind speeds (>4m/s at 10 m elevation), a definite trend is observed between dust concentration and relative humidity: dust concentration increases with relative humidity, reaching a maximum around 25% and it subsequently decreases with relative humidity. Models for dust storm forecasting may be improved by utilizing atmospheric humidity and wind speed as main drivers for dust generation and transport.

KEYWORDS:

Dust emission; PM(10); Relative humidity; Semi-arid; Wind speed

PMID:
24769193
PMCID:
PMC4072227
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.03.138
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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