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Nature Geoscience

July 21, 2009

Dust clouds from China were transported more than one full circle around the globe in 13 days, according to a study published online in Nature Geoscience. The findings illustrate that dust clouds generated in one region could have effects on many parts of the world.

Itsushi Uno and colleagues used satellite and model data to show that a storm in China's Taklimakan Desert in May 2007 generated dust clouds that were lifted 8-10 km above the Earth's surface, and transported more than one full circle around the Earth. When the dust reached the north-western Pacific Ocean for a second time, the subsidence of a high-pressure system caused the dust-laden clouds to descend into the lower atmosphere and some of the dust was then deposited in the ocean.

The analysis also suggests that the dust particles may have triggered ice formation in the high-altitude clouds.

DOI:10.1038/ngeo583 | Original article

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