Wind-blown dust models use input data, including soil conditions and meteorology, to interpret the multi-step wind erosion process and predict the quantity of dust emission. Therefore, the accuracy of the wind-blown dust models is dependent on the accuracy of each input condition and the robustness of the model schemes for each elemental step of wind erosion. A thorough evaluation of a wind-blown model thus requires validation of the input conditions and the elemental model schemes. However, most model evaluations and intercomparisons have focused on the final output of the models, i.e., the vertical dust emission. Recently, a delicate set of measurement data for saltation flux and friction velocity was reported from the Japan-Australia Dust Experiment (JADE) Project, which enabled the step-by-step evaluation of wind-blown dust models up to the saltation step. When all the input parameters were provided from the observations, both the two widely used saltation schemes showed very good agreement with measurements, with the correlation coefficient and the agreement of index both being larger than 0.9, which demonstrated the strong robustness of the physical schemes for saltation. However, using the meteorology model to estimate the input conditions such as weather and soil conditions, considerably degraded the models’ performance. The critical reason for the model failure was determined to be the inaccuracy in the estimation of the threshold friction velocity (representing soil condition), followed by inaccurate estimation of surface wind speed. It was not possible to determine which of the two saltation schemes was superior, based on the present study results. Such differentiation will require further evaluation studies using more measurements of saltation flux and vertical dust emissions.
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