DDD Conference

Prof. Xin Xi

Recent Extreme Dust Storms in Central Asia Associated with Accelerated Warming in the Tropical Pacific and Arctic

Michigan Technological University, USA


Dust storms are a recurring weather hazard in Central Asia and threaten human well-being by deteriorating the air, soil, and water in downwind populated regions. Several extreme dust storms struck Central Asia during recent years, including a haboob-like salt storm from Aralkum in May 2018 and a record-breaking dust storm in Uzbekistan in November 2021. Both events caused persistently high concentrations of particulate pollutants. Such extreme events are typically triggered by two factors: increased availability of erodible sediments and strong near-surface winds capable of dust uplifting. This presentation explores the climate setting and meteorological forcing of the recent dust outbreak from the perspective of sediment availability and wind power. The sediment availability is closely related to the growing-season drought condition, which depends on the preceding cold-season precipitation and Northern Hemisphere circulation anomalies associated with tropical and extratropical forcings. The dust-uplifting winds are primarily triggered by cold air penetration from high latitudes induced by upper-level circulation anomalies. By linking the dust storms with anomalous hydroclimate and circulation patterns, this presentation discusses the impact of the amplified warming in the tropical Pacific and Arctic on the midlatitude climate and dust activity.

Skip to content