Recent global dust trend and connections to climate forcing
Article first published online: 3 OCT 2013
©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume 118, Issue 19, pages 11,107–11,118, 16 October 2013
How to Cite
2013), Recent global dust trend and connections to climate forcing, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 118, 11,107–11,118, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50836., , and (
- Issue published online: 30 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 3 OCT 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 16 SEP 2013 07:14AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 11 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Received: 19 MAR 2013
- climate change;
- global dust trend;
 Dust is an important indicator of climate change. In paleoclimate research, sediments bearing signals of dust deposition offer a rich archive for climate change history. However, the dust-climate link is very complex due to the various direct and indirect feedbacks in the Earth system. In this study, we examine two issues: (1) given the recent global warming, what are the dust variations, both globally and in key dust regions, and (2) what are the climate drivers behind the variations? Using synoptic data for the period 1974–2012, we analyzed the global trend of dust frequency and visibility-derived dust concentrations and their characteristics in key dust regions, including North Africa, the Middle East, Southwest Asia, Northeast Asia, South America, and Australia. We also examined the likely climate drivers for dust variations in the different regions by computing the correlations between the time series of dust and of major climate indices—the Multivariate El Niño/Southern Oscillation Index, North Atlantic Oscillation, and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). It was found that over the period 1984–2012, the global mean (excluding North America and Europe) near-surface dust concentration decreased at 1.2% yr−1. This decrease is mainly due to reduced dust activities in North Africa, accompanied by reduced activities in Northeast Asia, South America, and South Africa. A significant negative correlation between Saharan dust and AMO was detected, and it seems reasonable to suggest that under present climate, the global dust trend is determined by the climate systems governing the Atlantic and North African regimes.