Each year, approximately four billion tons of dust are mobilized from dry landscapes and remain in the atmosphere from hours to weeks before being deposited. These large atmospheric dust loadings directly affect atmospheric dynamics and global climate [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001], human health [Plumlee and Ziegler, 2003], and soil fertility, and also influence ecosystem dynamics in ocean basins.
Although some progress has been made in quantifying feedbacks (see Figure 1 on the Eos Electronic Supplement at http:www. agu. org/eos_elec/000931e.html) in the atmospheric dust cycle, the critical factors controlling the entrainment and transport of dust at differing spatial and temporal scales remain poorly quantified.
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