Dust emission from Chinese desert sources linked to variations in atmospheric circulation


  • Xiao Y. Zhang,

  • Richard Arimoto,

  • Zhi S. An


Estimates of atmospheric dust deposition to five Asian/Pacific regions indicate that ∼800 Tg of Chinese desert dust is injected into the atmosphere annually; about 30% of this is redeposited onto the deserts, 20% is transported over regional scales, primarily within continental China. The remaining 50% of the dust is subject to long-range transport to the Pacific Ocean and beyond. Elemental tracers based on several dustderived elements (Al, Fe, Mg, and Sc) reveal high-frequency variability in the contributions of the western desert sources versus northern high-dust and low-dust desert sources to eolian deposits from the center of the Loess Plateau. Comparisons of the patterns uncovered with climate signals from the remote North Atlantic region for the last glaciation show that shifts in source areas of Asian dust were synchronous with large-scale variations in atmospheric circulation.