KAUST researchers find dust clouds are three times larger than previously thought

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THUWAL โ€” In a brand new examine within the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, KAUST researchers use refined mathematical fashions to point out that mud within the area could also be thrice bigger than beforehand thought, which has a profound impression on the deployment of photo voltaic expertise.

Mud is an efficient technique to transfer minerals throughout sea and land, performing as a fertilizer by distributing vitamins lengthy distances. On the similar time, it may be detrimental to infrastructure and expertise, which is why an correct understanding of its results will help in nationwide insurance policies for sustainability.

Present mathematical fashions utilized by scientists primarily analyze mud particles of effective dimension (lower than ten micrometers) and are usually not efficient at predicting the impression mud particles of coarse or gigantic dimension have.

Utilizing information collected by devices arrange by KAUST since 2012 and NASA satellites, the brand new examine finds estimates from earlier fashions underestimate mud deposition and emission by thrice.

Additional, by incorporating the brand new information, the KAUST mannequin reveals that the bigger particles contribute to greater than 80% of mud mass on land, the place most photo voltaic expertise is deployed.

This mud diminishes the effectiveness of photo voltaic expertise, with the examine estimating a 15% and 45% loss in effectivity (assuming a weekly cleansing cycle) for photo voltaic panels deployed on the west and east coasts of Saudi Arabia, respectively.

The loss comes from two means. First is the mud that settles on, or soils, the expertise itself, blocking photo voltaic radiation. On the similar time, mud within the ambiance can diminish photo voltaic radiation from reaching the instrument.

The effectivity loss from deposited mud was about twice as excessive as that from radiative mud within the ambiance.

“Correct mud modeling and mud forecasting has a number of essential coverage implications. To help Saudi Arabia’s aggressive improvement of a sustainable economic system, our work will contribute to the strategic deployment and upkeep of photo voltaic expertise throughout the Kingdom,” stated KAUST Prof. Georgiy Stenchikov, who led the examine.

KAUST analysis scientist Dr. Mokhammad Suleiman Mostamandi served as a primary writer. KAUST analysis scientists Dr. Sergey Osipov, Dr. Ilia Shevchenko, and Dr. Alex Ukhov additionally made main contributions to the examine. As did Professor Emeritus Johann Engelbrecht of the Desert Analysis Institute in the USA. โ€” SG

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