Climate and Dynamics
Relationship between vegetation coverage and spring dust storms over northern China
Article first published online: 6 FEB 2004
Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012)
Volume 109, Issue D3, 16 February 2004
How to Cite
2004), Relationship between vegetation coverage and spring dust storms over northern China, J. Geophys. Res., 109, D03104, doi:10.1029/2003JD003913., and (
- Issue published online: 6 FEB 2004
- Article first published online: 6 FEB 2004
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 DEC 2003
- Manuscript Revised: 11 DEC 2003
- Manuscript Received: 25 JUN 2003
- dust storm;
 On the basis of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data from 1982 to 2001 and dust storm observations in China the relationship between vegetation and spring dust storms over northern China is discussed. The results show that poor vegetation coverage in northern China is one important factor for the frequent occurrence of spring dust storms. In addition, vegetation cover plays an important role in interannual variations of dust storms. In general, a negative correlation is noted between vegetation coverage and occurrence of dust storms in northern China for spring during the period 1982–2001. The correlation coefficient between vegetation coverage and areas affected by dust storms is −0.59, which is statistically meaningful at 99% confidence level. The sharp decrease of spring vegetation coverage in recent years is one of the major contributors to frequent spring dust storms over northern China specifically during 2000 and 2001. A negative correlation is especially significant in the eastern part of northern China, mainly in central and eastern Inner Mongolia. When vegetation decreases (increases), the occurrence of dust storms increases (decreases). Furthermore, statistics show that abundant vegetation in previous seasons could help reduce dust storms in the coming spring. The effect of prior summer vegetation on the variation of spring dust storms is particularly evident in the central and eastern part of northern China. Because of the presence of little to no vegetation in the desert areas of northwest China the variation in occurrence of spring dust storms seems unrelated to the vegetation.