This study examined the quiescence of Asian dust events in South Korea and Japan during the spring of 2012, presenting a synoptic characterization and suggesting possible causes. Synoptic observation reports from the two countries confirmed that spring 2012 had the lowest number of dust events in 2000-2012. The monthly dust frequency (DF) in March 2012 over the dust source regions, i.e., deserts in northern China and Mongolia, indicated a significant decrease compared to the 12 year (2000-2011) March climatology. The DF in April 2012 was comparable to the 12 year climatology values, but in May 2012 it was slightly lower. The daily Ozone Monitoring Instrument Aerosol Index and the Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System simulations revealed stagnant dust movement in March and May 2012. Anomalous anticyclones north of the source regions decreased the dust outbreaks and enhanced the southeasterly winds, resulting in few dust events over the downwind countries (i.e., South Korea and Japan). By contrast, in April 2012, a strong anomalous cyclone east of Lake Baikal slightly increased the dust outbreaks over northeastern China. However, the major dust outbreaks were not transported downwind because of exceptional dust pathways, i.e., the southeastward pathway of dust transport was unusually blocked by the expansion of an anomalous anticyclonic circulation over the Sea of Okhotsk, with dust being transported northeast.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Atmospheric Science