Author: Song H, K. Zhang, S. Piao, S. Wan.
Journal: Atmospheric Environment
Dust emissions caused by wind erosion have significant impacts on land degradation, air quality, and climate change. Dust from the arid and semiarid regions of China is a main contributor to atmospheric dust aerosols in East Asia, and their impacts can stretch far beyond the territory of China. Spatialtemporal patterns of dust emissions in China over the last several decades, however, are still lacking, especially during the spring season. In this study, we simulated the spatial-temporal dynamics of spring dust emissions from 1982 to 2011 in arid and semi-arid areas of China using the Integrated Wind Erosion Modeling System. Results showed that the most severe dust emission events occurred in the Taklimakan Desert, Badain Jaran Desert, Tengger Desert, and Ulan Buh Desert. Over the last three decades, the magnitude of spring dust emissions generally decreased at the regional scale, with an annual spring dust emission of ~401.10 Tg. Among different vegetation types, the highest annual spring dust emission occurred in the desert steppes (~163.95 Tg), followed by the deserts (~103.26 Tg). The dust emission intensity in the desert steppes and the deserts was ~150.83 kg km2 yr1 and ~205.46 kg km2 yr1 , respectively. The spatial patterns of the inter-decadal variation are related to climate change and human activities. Mitigation strategies such as returning farmland to grassland, fenced grazing, and adequate grass harvesting, must be taken to prevent further soil losses and grassland degradation in northern China.