EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The role of High Latitude Dust in changing climate: Severe dust storm observations in Iceland and Antarctica in 2020-2021

Pavla Dagsson Waldhauserova1,2, Outi Meinander3, Slobodan Nickovic4,5, Bojan Cvetkovic4, Ana Vukovic5, Beatrice Moroni6, Jan Kavan7, Kamil Laska7, Jean-Baptiste Renard8, Nathalie Burdova2,9, and Olafur Arnalds1
Pavla Dagsson Waldhauserova et al.
  • 1Agricultural University of Iceland, Environmental Sciences, Reykjavik, Iceland (
  • 2Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech Republic
  • 3Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Republic Hydrometeorological Service, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 5Institute of Physics, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 6University of Perugia, Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology, Italy
  • 7Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 8LPC2E-CNRS / Université d’Orléans, Orléans, France
  • 9Mittuniversitetet Sweden, Sweden

High Latitude Dust (HLD) contributes 5% to the global dust budget and active HLD sources cover > 500,000 km2. Potential areas with high HLD emission are calculated to cover >1 670 000 km(Meinander et al., in review). In Iceland, desert areas cover about 44,000 km2, but the hyperactive dust hot spots of area < 1,000 km2 are the most dust productive sources. Recent studies have shown that Icelandic dust travelled about 2,000 km to Svalbard and about 3,500 km to Balkan Peninsula. It estimated that about 7% of Icelandic dust can reach the high Arctic (N>80°). HLD was recognized as an important climate driver in Polar Regions in the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate in 2019.

Long-term dust in situ measurements conducted in Arctic deserts of Iceland and Antarctic deserts of Eastern Antarctic Peninsula in 2018-2021 revealed some of the most severe dust storms in terms of particulate matter (PM) concentrations. While one-minute PM10 concentrations is Iceland exceeded 50,000 μgm-3, ten-min PM10 means in James Ross Island, Antarctica exceeded 120 μgm-3. The largest HLD field campaign was organized in Iceland in 2021 where 11 international institutions with > 70 instruments and 12 m tower conducted dust measurements (Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, Darmstadt, Berlin and Karlsruhe Universities, NASA, Czech University of Life sciences, Agricultural University of Iceland etc.). Preliminary results will be shown.

Icelandic dust has impacts on atmosphere, cryosphere, marine and terrestrial environments. It decreases albedo of both glacial ice/snow as well as mixed phase clouds via reduction in supercooled water content. There is also an evidence that volcanic dust particles scavenge efficiently SO2 and NO2 to form sulphites/sulfates and nitrous acid. High concentrations of volcanic dust and Eyjafjallajokull ash were associated with up to 20% decline in ozone concentrations in 2010. In marine environment, Icelandic dust with high total Fe content (10-13 wt%) and the initial Fe solubility of 0.08-0.6%, can impact primary productivity and nitrogen fixation in the N Atlantic Ocean, leading to additional carbon uptake.

There is also first HLD operational dust forecast for Icelandic dust available at the World Meteorological Organization Sand/Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (WMO SDS-WAS) at In 2020-2021, a total of 71 long-range dust events was identified from Iceland reaching Faroe Islands, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Scandinavia. HLD research community is growing and Icelandic Aerosol and Dust Association (IceDust) has 100 members from 47 institutions in 18 countries (, including references to this abstract).



Meinander, O., Dagsson-Waldhauserova, P., et al.: Newly identified climatically and environmentally significant high latitude dust sources, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2021.

How to cite: Dagsson Waldhauserova, P., Meinander, O., Nickovic, S., Cvetkovic, B., Vukovic, A., Moroni, B., Kavan, J., Laska, K., Renard, J.-B., Burdova, N., and Arnalds, O.: The role of High Latitude Dust in changing climate: Severe dust storm observations in Iceland and Antarctica in 2020-2021, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10655,, 2022.


Display file

Comments on the display

to access the discussion