Mineral dust aerosol impacts on global climate and climate change

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43017-022-00379-5. This is version 3 of this Preprint.

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Jasper F Kok , Trude Storelvmo, Vlassis Karydis, Adeyemi A Adebiyi , Natalie M. Mahowald, Amato Tomas Evan , Cenlin He, Danny Leung


Mineral dust aerosols impact Earth’s energy budget through interactions with radiation, clouds, atmospheric chemistry, the cryosphere and biogeochemistry. In this Review, we summarize these interactions and assess the resulting impacts of dust, and of changes in dust, on global climate and climate change. The total effect of dust interactions on Earth’s global energy budget—the dust effective radiative effect—is -0.2 ± 0.5 Wm-2 (90% confidence interval), suggesting that dust net cools the climate. Global dust mass loading has increased 55 ± 30% since pre-industrial times, driven largely by increases in dust from Asia and North Africa, leading to changes in the Earth’s energy budget. Indeed, this increase in dust has produced a global mean effective radiative forcing of -0.07 ± 0.18 Wm-2, somewhat counteracting greenhouse warming. Current climate models and climate assessments do not represent the historical increase in dust and thus omit the resulting radiative forcing, biasing climate change projections and assessments of climate sensitivity. Climate model simulations of future changes in dust diverge widely and are very uncertain. Further work is thus needed to constrain the radiative effects of dust on climate and to improve the representation of dust in climate models.




Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Aerosols, radiative forcing, Mineral dust


Published: 2022-09-08 03:46

Last Updated: 2023-07-17 17:53

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International