Dr. Greg Jenkins, Professor of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Geography, and African Studies at Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA (Note: When this profile was written, Dr. Jenkins was a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Howard University in Washington, D.C.)
Research interests: Weather, climate, atmospheric chemistry, and air quality of West Africa.
Current research focus: Impact of dust aerosols on cloud microphysics and precipitation as it relates to mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) and tropical cyclones over the Eastern Tropical Atlantic Ocean; impact of dust aerosols on seasonal and inter-annual variability of rain in West Africa; relationship between dust content and vertical profiles of tropospheric ozone; prediction of winter/spring and summer dust storms using regional models; and the linkage between Saharan dust storms and respiratory disease.
This summer, Jenkins plans to participate in a field experiment in the Cape Verde Islands called Ice in Clouds Experiment-Dust (ICE-D). ICE-D will help improve the understanding and representation in models of the contributions from Saharan dust aerosols to the formation of ice nuclei and the resulting contributions of these ice nuclei to cloud development.
Data Products, Tools, and Availability:
- Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) (Terra and Aqua) aerosol products, available through the Level 1 and Atmosphere Archive and Distribution System Distributed Active Archive Center (LAADS DAAC)
- Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) aerosol products
- Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET). Satellite-based products can be viewed interactively at http://giovanni.gsfc.nasa.gov/giovanni.
“NASA Earth science data has been instrumental in data poor regions of the Sahara and eastern Atlantic, where the intensity and scale of dust events can only be quantified from Satellite platforms and validated at AERONET sites,” says Jenkins.
Research findings: Jenkins and his team note that Saharan dust may have a positive influence on tropical cyclone development through stronger updrafts, but the negative influences of the Saharan air layer can inhibit tropical cyclone development. In addition, they found that Saharan dust acts to reduce ozone concentrations in the middle troposphere (most likely due to heterogeneous chemical interactions on dust surfaces); however, there may also be a biogenic source of nitrogen, which may increase ozone concentrations at altitudes just below regions of losses. They also found a possible linkage between high aerosol optical depth (AOD) from MODIS/AERONET data and meningitis cases in Senegal based on data from 2012 and 2013.
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