"Growing Dust from Desert Wind Storms Has Curbed Warming, Study Finds"

"The amount of dust generated by desert windstorms has grown markedly since the mid-19th century, helping to offset the global rise in temperature, new research shows.

Airborne dust, which reflects a small measure of the sun’s light, has reduced warming by as much as 8 percent, the study found. The implications of the research are clear, authors say: If dust levels fail to keep growing, warming will ramp up even further.

For the study, researchers gauged the current level of dust in the air using satellite data and ground measurements, and they reconstructed past levels by evaluating dust in ice cores, ocean sediment, and peat bogs. The study revealed a consistent rise in dust levels, possibly due to drier weather, more powerful winds, or the building of irrigation channels that direct water away from lakes and wetlands. Since around 1850, the volume of dust in the atmosphere has grown by 55 percent, according to the study, which was published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth and Environment."

Yale Environment 360 had the story January 18, 2023.

Source: YaleE360, 01/24/2023