Study: Heavy rains can produce more dust

October 26, 2005

A recent NASA study of some of Earth's dustiest areas indicates heavy downpours can eventually lead to more dust being released into the atmosphere.

Researchers examining 14 of the Earth's dustiest regions found rainfall and flooding leave behind sediments in some areas that include fine grain size particles that eventually get carried by winds, increasing the amount of airborne dust released a year or more later.

The research also confirms dust emissions from a specific region can vary considerably from season-to-season, or year to year, and are largely dependent on climate patterns, said Charles Zender of the Department of Earth System Science at the University of California-Irvine, and lead author of the study.

Overall, in the 14 source regions studied, anomalies in dust emissions were closely related to precipitation in 12, vegetation in eight, and to wind speed in two, suggesting rainfall is the best climate predictor of dust emissions.

"This study highlights the importance of soil characteristics in dust emission and shows their influence to be more prevalent than previously believed," said Zender.

The study was published online in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Green Sahara's ancient rainfall regime revealed

Related Stories

Rooftop observatory tracks hurricane rain and winter snow

January 19, 2017

On Friday night, while most of North Carolina braced against the biting sleet and snow with hot cocoa and Netflix, a suite of research instruments stood tall above Duke's campus, quietly gathering data on the the storm.

Desert dust intensifies summer rainfall in U.S. southwest

May 21, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Dust is more than something to be brushed off the furniture. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that dust kicked up from the desert floor acts like a heat pump in the atmosphere, fueling ...

Recommended for you

'Droneboarding' takes off in Latvia

January 22, 2017

Skirted on all sides by snow-clad pine forests, Latvia's remote Lake Ninieris would be the perfect picture of winter tranquility—were it not for the huge drone buzzing like a swarm of angry bees as it zooms above the solid ...

Singapore 2G switchoff highlights digital divide

January 22, 2017

When Singapore pulls the plug on its 2G mobile phone network this year, thousands of people could be stuck without a signal—digital have-nots left behind by the relentless march of technology.

Freeze-dried food and 1 bathroom: 6 simulate Mars in dome

January 20, 2017

Crammed into a dome with one bathroom, six scientists will spend eight months munching on mostly freeze-dried foods—with a rare treat of Spam—and have only their small sleeping quarters to retreat to for solace.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.