Aeolian dust is found over large parts of the globe; reddish layers of Saharan dust occasionally cover cars in Europe and glaciers in Greenland, but also corals in the Caribbean. Dust storms from the East Asian deserts blanket cities in China, Korea, and Japan, and Australian dust is transported to New Zealand's glaciers, even to Antarctica. The problems caused by such dust-storm events are evident. However, it has been recognised recently (e.g., IPCC 2007) that wind-blown dust has much further-reaching consequences for local ecosystems and global climate. It has been suggested that dust particles can have both direct effects on climate by changing the Earth's radiation budget, as well as indirect effects through interactions with clouds, and by changing the ocean's carbon cycle through fertilisation of marine biota. Model studies have demonstrated that dust particles not only form a strong feedback mechanism in global climate change, they are even thought to be able to cause climate change.
A number of scientific disciplines cover the multitude of aspects related to aeolian dust in the atmosphere. The Geomorphology context applies to the origins and production of dust-size sediments and their subsequent release and emission from various kinds of sources at the Earth's surface into the atmospheric boundary layer. Once dust particles are entrained in the air, Atmospheric Sciences investigate and model the regional and global transport of dust and dust storms and their effects on radiative budgets and meteorology in the atmosphere over a range of spatio-temporal scales. From a Climate perspective there is a strong interest in the processes and effects of aerosol deposition into oceans and onto glaciers and how dust accumulation in terrestrial and marine sequences can be used to reconstruct past environmental conditions.
In this Interdivisional Session we explore the potential role of aeolian dust in global environmental change (past, modern, future), focusing on the factors that influence the formation and release of dust particles, their transport through- and effects on the atmosphere, different approaches to studying dust deposits, and their palaeoclimate significance. We intend to bring together the dust research community from all relevant disciplines and we invite contributions organised along a trilogy framework:
1) GM: origins and emissions of dust from the earth surface,
2) AS: transport and effects of dust in the atmosphere,
3) CL: climatic signals and dust deposits
We also want to reach out to research concerning sedimentation processes (SSP) and work related to biological consequences of dust deposition on marine ecosystems and wind-blown transport of pathogens (BG).
A number of leading investigators have been sollicited for presentations, and will be confirmed at later notice.
Confirmed solicited speakers:
- Dr. Mark J. Rodwell (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK)
- Dr. Paola Formenti (LISA, Université Paris XII, Université Paris VII, CNRS, Créteil, France)
- Dr. Daniel Rosenfeld (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)