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ABSTRACT

The microped size distribution of erodible soils is one of the main factors controlling the emissions of mineral aerosol. To date, the microped size distributions of desert soils in natural field conditions are not well known and thus the existing dust source models cannot be applied to natural sites. Based on dry sieving and elemental analysis of 26 soil samples collected in arid and semiarid regions, it is shown that the microped size distributions of these desert soil samples involve a combination of four major mass size populations. These four size populations correspond to salty soils, fine quartz sand, coarse dune sand and aluminosilicate silt. We show that the microped size distributions of the various desert soils, according to their mineralogical characteristics, can be calculated by a mixture involving two or three of these four populations. The main field of application for this scheme is the characterization of the erodible soil size distributions for modelling the atmospheric dust cycle.