Wind erosion prediction over the Australian continent


  • Yaping Shao,

  • Lance M. Leslie


Wind erosion is a complicated process influenced by weather patterns, soil conditions, and vegetation cover. In this work we present an integrated wind erosion assessment and prediction system which couples a wind erosion scheme with an atmospheric prediction model and a Geographic Information System database. The system is applied to the February 1996 dust storms over the Australian continent, and the predictions are in good agreement with meteorological records and satellite images. It is found that over the 1 week period from February 6 to 12, 1996, the total dust emission from the Australian continent was around 6 million tons. As demonstrated in this study, the system can be used to identify areas and periods under wind erosion threat and to identify the responsible environmental factors. For atmospheric studies the integrated system provides a possibility of quantifying the sources of dust particles which in turn play an important role in atmospheric radiative processes.