Drivers of recent decline in dust activity over East Asia

Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 19;13(1):7105. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-34823-3.

ABSTRACT

It is essential to understand the factors driving the recent decline of dust activity in East Asia for future dust projections. Using a physically-based dust emission model, here we show that the weakening of surface wind and the increasing of vegetation cover and soil moisture have all contributed to the decline in dust activity during 2001 to 2017. The relative contributions of these three factors to the dust emission reduction during 2010-2017 relative to 2001 are 46%, 30%, and 24%, respectively. Much (78%) of the dust emission reduction is from barren lands, and a small fraction (4.6%) of the reduction is attributed to grassland vegetation increase that is partly ascribed to the ecological restoration. This suggests that the ecological restoration plays a minor role in the decline of dust activity. Rather, the decline is mainly driven by climatic factors, with the weakening of surface wind playing the dominant role.

PMID:36402787 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-022-34823-3

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