The QUEST Working Group on Dust will meet between 19-21 October 2008 in Villefranche-sur-Mer (near Nice, France) prior to a planned GREEN OCEAN meeting, which will allow linkage between both workshops.


At the first meeting (Exeter, November 2007), the Working Group identified an opportunity to improve aspects of dust source-area modelling through intensified interaction with observationalists, to incorporate sub-grid scale heterogeneity in dust sources and detailed characterization of dust properties in source regions.

The aim of the second meeting of the QUEST Working Group on Dust is specifically to address these two issues:


1. Many models treat palaeolake basins or low-lying areas more generally as preferential dust sources. Remote-sensing studies and field-based geomorphic mapping show that dust is emitted from a wide variety of different geomorphic settings, including e.g. inter-dunal depressions, the marginal areas of lakes and fluvial/alluvial fans. Dust sources are highly localised, often with considerable temporal variability in emissions from specific sources. We need to determine whether it is possible to (a) synthesise information now becoming available from many regions and different types of observation, and (b) incorporate this complexity in a modelling framework.


2. The characterisation of sources in terms of dust physical and chemical properties poses a further challenge: most modelling groups specify dust size distribution properties based on global soils data sets which provide average properties over large areas, use standard fractions to specify the mineralogy of the emitted dust, and a further standard fraction to determine the fraction of bio-available iron in dust reaching the ocean. This approach exacerbates the uncertainties in radiative impact and, perhaps ultimately even more importantly, will compromise the realism of simulations to evaluate the role of dust in atmospheric chemistry and ocean fertilisation. We need to develop a strategy to synthesise information on dust properties in source areas, using both DIRTMAP sites and independent information, and to decide how to use this information in model simulations.





Agenda and information



Workshop venue


Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche


See agenda for map.





For agenda and science related enquiries contact:


Barbara Maher (b.maher <at>

Sandy Harrison (sandy.harrison <at>

Adam Durant (adam.durant <at>


For general registration enquiries contact:


Katie Pellicci (katie.pellicci <at>



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Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer (left)