A New Perspective on Understanding the Reduced Spring Dust Storm Frequency in Inner Mongolia, China
Ning Li;Li Guo;Bihang Fan;State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University;Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disasters, Ministry of Education, Beijing Normal University;College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University;
Spatiotemporal patterns of dust storms are affected by climate change through changes in convective instability, regional meteorological characteristics, and local sediment supply. Linking dust storm dynamics to climate change helps the understanding of what controls the initiation of dust storms, and assists the prediction of future dust storm occurrence. This study examines the temporal dynamics of spring dust storms in Inner Mongolia, a major dust source area in East Asia. We found that severe spring dust storms have significantly declined from1954 to 2007. Four dust storm types showed similar decreasing trends from 2001 to 2012. This change in spring dust storm dynamics is attributed to the shift in vegetation green-up dates based on the analysis of a satellite derived vegetation index. Earlier vegetation green-up has a dampening effect on spring dust storms. Suitable environmental conditions for vegetation green-up hinder the emergence of dust storms. This study expands our understanding of the dynamics of spring dust storms in the changing climate through a new perspective on vegetation phenology in the spring.