A networking resource devoted to biological soil crusts and the researchers who study them. We will provide a means for international scientists to communicate, share their research, share important news and announcements, ask questions and find collaborators. We will also provide a space for informal writing on research, opinion, and ideas (now seeking posters!).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Asian dust storms crossing oceans


A dust storm can be seen over Turkmenistan, Central Asia, in this photograph from the International Space Station in 2009.
A dust storm can be seen over Turkmenistan, Central Asia, in this photograph from the International Space Station in 2009.
NASA/Earth Observatory





Dust storms made it to science daily today, based on a new paper in Science. According to Science Daily article, half of North American dust is coming from Asia, and the large majority of aerosols are desert dust.

I'll have to go read the original paper now, but I've got to say this quote stuck in my craw:

Satellite images also showed that the majority of high-flying aerosols were made up of desert dust, which can affect climate patterns in a number of ways. And while experts continue to debate the effects of climate change and development on the conversion of fertile lands to deserts in many parts of the world, most of the dust in the atmosphere probably comes from the natural lifting of desert sands, said Daniel Jacob, an atmospheric chemist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

"In terms of the effect of aerosols on climate, we tend to be fixated on human activity," Jacob said. "But we have this big dust haze layer that's several miles over our heads. This study nicely reminded us of that." 

Its true that many dust sources contribute with little influence of humans, but someone should tell the author that human activity increases dust emissions. I mean grazing, burning and biomass harvest. Sure, climate is a a major inter actor, but there is a big human component. Take away the plants and crusts, you get dust.


Check out the Science Daily article here:
http://news.discovery.com/earth/asia-dust-weather-climate-patterns-120802.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1

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