Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Detecting sand-dust storms using a wind-profiling radar


Sand-dust storm is a type of disastrous weather, typically occurring in arid and semi-arid climates. This study selected a region in the hinterlands of the Taklimakan Desert, called the Tazhong region, as the experimental area to quantitatively estimate the particle concentrations of sand-dust storms using the boundary layer wind-profiling radar. We thoroughly studied the radar echo signals and reflectivity factor features during the sand-dust storms. The results indicate that (1) under sand-dust storm conditions, boundary layer wind-profiling radar cannot capture the complete information regarding horizontal wind velocity and direction, but it can obtain the backscattering intensity of sand-dust storms; and (2) during sand-dust storms particle size distributions in the surface layer closely resemble log-normal distributions, with sand-dust particles sizes of 90–100 µm accounting for the maximum particle probability. Retrieved particle size distributions at heights of 600, 800, and 1000 m follow log-normal distributions, and the expected value of particle diameter decreases gradually with increasing height. From the perspective of orders of magnitude, the retrieved results for particle number concentrations and mass concentrations are consistent with previous aircraft-detected results, indicating that it is basically feasible to use boundary layer wind-profiling radar to quantitatively detect the particle concentrations of dust storms.

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