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AGU journal highlights -- June 23, 2011
Date:6/23/2011

ce of dust storms over East Asia. The trigger for this increase has been elusive because the ability of gusting wind to whip up a dust storm depends on a large number of factors, ranging from the level of snow and vegetation cover to differences in soil moisture and salt levels. Scientists note that these factors fall into two broad categories: Either the wind has increased its ability to wear away at the earth (increased erosivity), or the soil is more susceptible to the wind's assault (increased erodibility).

Using a database of wind speed, weather, and dust storm observations stretching back to 1970, Kurosaki et al. seek to determine whether the East Asian increase was caused by changing erosivity or erodibility. The authors find that the rise in dust storms in desert regions can be attributed largely to an increase in the frequency of strong winds. For crops and grasslands, however, the researchers tie the increase in storms to a change in erodibility, indicating that the soil had somehow changed. They propose that changes in the ground cover provided by dead leaves in the spring could be the driving factor. If so, then observations of plant growth and precipitation during the summer could provide a platform on which to base forecasts of the frequency of dust storms the following year.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2011GL047494, 2011
http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011GL047494

Title: What caused a recent increase in dust outbreaks over East Asia?

Authors: Yasunori Kurosaki and Masato Shinoda: Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Tottori, Japan;

Masao Mikami: Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan.


4. El NioSouthern Oscillation variability persisted in warmer world

Changes in the distribution of sea surface temperature associated with the El NioSouthern Oscillation (ENSO) cause
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Contact: Peter Weiss
pweiss@agu.org
202-777-7507
American Geophysical Union
Source:Eurekalert

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