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Dust Over Taklamakan Desert and Influence on Asian Climate

39.5N 81.9E

March 3rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Dust Storms

China – March 3rd, 2013

Dust blows about the Taklamakan Desert, in China, partially obscuring its northern rim at the foot of the Tian Shan Mountains. Dust storms in this region are relatively common, and also influence other regions such as the Tibetan Plateau. Scientists have suggested that large dust storms could be heating the region and even influencing the development of the monsoon in the neighboring country of India.

Dust particles tend to absorb heat from sunlight, creating an unusually warm area over the Tibetan Plateau. This heating enhances atmospheric circulation from relatively cold to warm areas, thus strengthening the Indian summer (rainy) monsoon. If desertification progresses in the Taklamakan desert as the climate warms, Tibet will probably become more dusty in summer, with important implications for central Asian climate (click here for more information).

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