Articles | Volume 13, issue 4
Research article
08 Apr 2019
Research article |  | 08 Apr 2019

Saharan dust events in the European Alps: role in snowmelt and geochemical characterization

Biagio Di Mauro, Roberto Garzonio, Micol Rossini, Gianluca Filippa, Paolo Pogliotti, Marta Galvagno, Umberto Morra di Cella, Mirco Migliavacca, Giovanni Baccolo, Massimiliano Clemenza, Barbara Delmonte, Valter Maggi, Marie Dumont, François Tuzet, Matthieu Lafaysse, Samuel Morin, Edoardo Cremonese, and Roberto Colombo

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Cited articles

Aciego, S. M., Riebe, C. S., Hart, S. C., Blakowski, M. A., Carey, C. J., Aarons, S. M., Dove, N. C., Botthoff, J. K., Sims, K. W. W., and Aronson, E. L.: Dust outpaces bedrock in nutrient supply to montane forest ecosystems, Nat. Commun., 8, 14800,, 2017. 
Albani, S., Mahowald, N. M., Perry, A. T., Scanza, R. A., Zender, C. S., Heavens, N. G., Maggi, V., Kok, J. F., and Otto-Bliesner, B. L.: Improved dust representation in the Community Atmosphere Model, J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 6, 541–570,, 2014. 
Alfaro, S. C., Lafon, S., Rajot, J. L., Formenti, P., Gaudichet, A., and Maillé, M.: Iron oxides and light absorption by pure desert dust: An experimental study, J. Geophys. Res., 109, D08208,, 2004. 
Arvin, L. J., Riebe, C. S., Aciego, S. M., and Blakowski, M. A.: Global patterns of dust and bedrock nutrient supply to montane ecosystems, Sci. Adv., 3, eaao1588,, 2017. 
Avila, A. and Peñuelas, J.: Increasing frequency of Saharan rains over northeastern Spain and its ecological consequences, Sci. Total Environ., 228, 153–156,, 1999. 
Short summary
The snow albedo reduction due to dust from arid regions alters the melting dynamics of the snowpack, resulting in earlier snowmelt. We estimate up to 38 days of anticipated snow disappearance for a season that was characterized by a strong dust deposition event. This process has a series of further impacts. For example, earlier snowmelts may alter the hydrological cycle in the Alps, induce higher sensitivity to late summer drought, and finally impact vegetation and animal phenology.