Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chinese Dust Found Atop French Alps

16.05.2003


Dust Storm over China’s Taklimakan Desert, on April 14, 2002, from the MODIS Instrument on NASA’s Terra Satellite


Dust from China’s Takla-Makan desert traveled more than 20,000 kilometers [12,000 miles] in about two weeks, crossing the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean, before settling atop the French Alps. Chinese dust plumes had been known to reach North America and even Greenland, but had never before been reported in Europe.

An international team of scientists, using atmospheric computer models, studied dust that traveled the globe from February 25 to March 7, 1990. Their findings are published in a paper authored by Francis E. Grousset of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, and the University of Bordeaux I in France, and colleagues. It appears in Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union.

Research conducted in 1994 showed that over the 20 preceding years, a score of red dust events coated the snow cover in the Alps and Pyrenees mountains. The dust that topped these European mountain ranges was sampled and stored for comparison with dust from various parts of the world. Scientists analyze the minerals and composition of certain distinctive elements of the dust, especially neodymium, to determine its origin.



The researchers used the Global Ozone Chemistry Aerosol Radiation Transport (GOCART) model, which analyzes wind, soil moisture, and surface characteristics to simulate the generation and transport of dust. Meteorological information was taken from the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System Data Assimilation System (GEOS DAS). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) showed the paths of air masses as they moved around the world from the time the dust was swept into the atmosphere to the time it settled on the mountaintops.

Grousset and his colleagues found several examples of dust collected in southern France that clearly originated from North African sources. The North Africa-to-Europe dust path was already well known. But data analyzed by the NASA and NOAA instruments independently of each other strongly suggested that some of the Alpine dust originated in a huge dust storm in western China, whose transport across two oceans and the North American continent to Europe had not previously been documented.

The origin and final location of dust are important to help determine any effects from heavy metal or fungal, bacterial, or viral pollution that may be associated with it. Previous studies have indicated, for example, that fungi found in African dust causes Sea Fan disease in Mediterranean coral reefs. The National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has identified airborne dust as the primary source of allergic stress worldwide.

The research was funded mainly by France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). Additional support was provided by NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Harvey Leifert, Rob Gutro | AGU / NASA
Further information:
http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0311.html
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2003/0427sandalps.html

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

Im Focus: Cost-effective and individualized advanced electronic packaging in small batches now available

Fraunhofer IZM is joining the EUROPRACTICE IC Service platform. Together, the partners are making fan-out wafer level packaging (FOWLP) for electronic devices available and affordable even in small batches – and thus of interest to research institutes, universities, and SMEs. Costs can be significantly reduced by up to ten customers implementing individual fan-out wafer level packaging for their ICs or other components on a multi-project wafer. The target group includes any organization that does not produce in large quantities, but requires prototypes.

Research always means trying things out and daring to do new things. Research institutes, universities, and SMEs do not produce in large batches, but rather...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Concert of magnetic moments

14.06.2019 | Information Technology

Materials informatics reveals new class of super-hard alloys

14.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

New imaging modality targets cholesterol in arterial plaque

14.06.2019 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>