Typically we think of rainfall as cleaning the air by removing dust as it falls through the atmosphere and helping plants grow that protect and hold the soil. But a new NASA-funded study looking at some of the worlds dustiest areas shows that heavy downpours can eventually lead to more dust being released into the atmosphere.
Typically drought reduces vegetation growth, increasing soil vulnerability to wind erosion, while rainfall tends to have the opposite effect. In the new study researchers examining 14 of the Earths dustiest regions found that in some regions, heavy rainfall and flooding leave behind sediments that include fine grain size particles that eventually get carried by winds in successive dry periods, increasing the amount of airborne dust, or emissions, released a year or more later. This is especially common in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin and in the Zone of Chotts in North Africa.
The research also confirms that dust emissions from a specific region can vary considerably from season-to-season, or year to year, and are largely dependent on climate patterns.
Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
Wandering greenhouse gas
16.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
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14.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
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