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SCIENCE CHINA Earth Sciences, Volume 60, Issue 7: 1338-1355(2017) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11430-016-9051-0

Comparison of dust emissions, transport, and deposition between the Taklimakan Desert and Gobi Desert from 2007 to 2011

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  • ReceivedJan 9, 2017
  • AcceptedMay 10, 2017
  • PublishedJun 12, 2017

Abstract

The Taklimakan Desert (TD) and Gobi Desert (GD) are two of the most important dust sources in East Asia, and have important impact on energy budgets, ecosystems and water cycles at regional and even global scales. To investigate the contribution of the TD and the GD to dust concentrations in East Asia as a whole, dust emissions, transport, and deposition over the TD and the GD in different seasons from 2007 to 2011 were systematically compared, based on the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem). Dust emissions, uplift, and long-range transport related to these two dust source regions were markedly different due to differences in topography, elevation, thermal conditions, and atmospheric circulation. Specifically, the topography of the GD is relatively flat, and at a high elevation, and the area is under the influence of two jet streams at high altitudes, resulting in high wind speeds in the upper atmosphere. Deep convective mixing enables the descending branch of jet streams to continuously transport momentum downward to the mid-troposphere, leading to enhanced wind speeds in the lower troposphere over the GD which favors the vertical uplift of the GD dust particles. Therefore, the GD dust was very likely to be transported under the effect of strong westerly jets, and thus played the most important role in contributing to dust concentrations in East Asia. Approximately 35% and 31% of dust emitted from the GD transported to remote areas in East Asia in spring and summer, respectively. The TD has the highest dust emission capabilities in East Asia, with emissions of about 70.54 Tg yr−1 in spring, accounting for 42% of the total dust emissions in East Asia. However, the TD is located in the Tarim Basin and surrounded by mountains on three sides. Furthermore, the dominant surface wind direction is eastward and the average wind speed at high altitudes is relatively small over the TD. As a result, the TD dust particles are not easily transported outside the Tarim Basin, such that most of the dust particles are re-deposited after uplift, at a total deposition rate of about 40 g m−2. It is only when the TD dust particles are uplifted above 4 km, and entrained in westerlies that they begin to undergo a long-range transport. Therefore, the contribution of the TD dust to East Asian dust concentrations was relatively small. Only 25% and 23% of the TD dust was transported to remote areas over East Asia in spring and summer, respectively.


Funded by

Foundation for National Natural Science Foundation of China(41405003)

Innovative Research Groups of the National Science Foundation of China(41521004)

China 111 Project(B 13045)

Foundation of Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education in Lanzhou University.


Acknowledgment

We acknowledge Chun Zhao and Yun Qian for their help for this work. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41405003), Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41521004), and the Programme of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities (Grant No. B 13045) and the Foundation of Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education in Lanzhou University.


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  • Figure 1

    Modeling domain and the spatial distribution of topography height. The red boxes represent the Taklimakan Desert (TD) and the Gobi Desert (GD) and were used for further analysis.

  • Figure 2

    The spatial distribution of soil erodibility in East Asia used in the GOCART dust emission, based on the WRF-Chem model.

  • Figure 3

    Seasonal average wind fields at 500 hPa in 2007–2011 from NCEP/FNL data (left) and WRF-Chem simulations (right). Arrows represent the wind vector at 500 hPa.

  • Figure 4

    Seasonal average AOD in 2007–2011 over East Asia from MISR retrievals (left) and WRF-Chem simulations (right).

  • Figure 5

    Proportions of dust emission flux in the TD and the GD in different seasons during 2007–2011.

  • Figure 6

    The spatial distribution of near surface dust concentrations in different seasons over East Asia during 2007–2011.

  • Figure 7

    The monthly average dust concentrations over the TD (blue solid line) and the GD (red dashed line) at 3–10 km altitude during 2007–2011 (a); the ratio of dust concentrations at 3–10 km to below 3 km over the TD and the GD during 2007–2011 (b).

  • Figure 8

    The monthly average dust concentrations over the TD (blue solid line) and the GD (red dashed line) at 8–10 km altitude during 2007–2011 (a); the ratio of dust concentrations at 8–10 km to below 3 km over the TD and the GD during 2007–2011 (b).

  • Figure 9

    The vertical distribution of zonal average dust concentrations (color scale, μg m−3) and potential temperatures (dotted line, K) over the TD (left) and the GD (right) in different seasons in 2007–2011.

  • Figure 10

    Cross sections of the zonal wind and wind vector (vertical wind scaled by 100) in the area of 42°N, 75.3°–120.2°E in different seasons in 2007–2011.

  • Figure 11

    Seasonal average contributions of dust emissions and transport over the TD and the GD to the dust mass balance over East Asia in 2007–2011 based on the WRF-Chem model. For dust budget analysis, the positive values denote positive contributions and the negative values denote the negative contributions to the dust mass balance in the study area. Units: g (m2 season)−1.

  • Figure 12

    The spatial distribution of dust transport flux over East Asia in different seasons in 2007–2011. Unit: μg (m2 s)−1.

  • Figure 13

    The vertical distribution of dust outflux to the east of the TD (blue solid line) and the GD (red dashed line) (the right side of two red boxes in Figure 1) in 2007–2011. The red solid line represents the differences in eastward dust outflux between the GD and the TD. Unit: μg s−1.

  • Figure 14

    The spatial distribution of dry deposition of dust (unit: g m−2) over East Asia in 2007–2011 based on the WRF-Chem model.

  • Figure 15

    The spatial distribution of wet deposition of dust over East Asia in 2007–2011 based on the WRF-Chem model.

  • Table 1   Seasonal average dust emissions in the TD and the GD from 2007 to 2011a)

    Taklimakan Desert (Tg yr−1)

    Gobi Desert (Tg yr−1)

    Spring

    70.54 (38.9%)

    64.87 (35.8%)

    Summer

    58.76 (41.8%)

    40.68 (28.9%)

    Autumn

    33.34 (33.2%)

    36.13 (35.9%)

    Winter

    24.67 (26.0%)

    38.02 (40.1%)

    a)Bracketed values represent the contributions of dust emissions in the TD and the GD to the entirety of East Asia

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