Earth Is Twice As Naturally Dusty As A Century Ago - Yes, There's Climate Connection

desert dust chart

image: Cornell University

This may seem just initially intriguing and not much more, but there's a serious climate change implication: According to researchers from Cornell University, the amount of naturally-occurring dust in the atmosphere today--as opposed to all the human-produced aerosols that we put up into the air--is twice that of the 19th century. So what's the climate connection?

Desert dust and climate influence each other directly and indirectly through a host of intertwined systems. Dust limits the amount of solar radiation that reaches the Earth, for example, a factor that could mask the warming effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It also can influence clouds and precipitation, leading to droughts; which, in turn, leads to desertification and more dust.

Ocean chemistry is also intricately involved. Dust is a major source of iron, which is vital for plankton and other organisms that draw carbon out of the atmosphere. (Science Daily)

Remember that dust and human-produced aerosols can have differing effects on climate (and glacier melting): Some increase warming while some mask it.

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More on Dust:
Chinese Dust Cloud Circled the Globe in Two Weeks
Natural Iron Fertilization: Sahara Dust Storms Stimulate Huge Plankton Blooms
Huge Dust Storm Feeds Fish and Eats Carbon

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