A Quantitative Model-Based Assessment of Stony Desert Landscape Evolution in the Hami Basin, China: Implications for Plio-Pleistocene Dust Production in Eastern Asia

Jordan T. Abell, Stefan R. Rahimi, Alex Pullen, Zachary J. Lebo, Dehai Zhang, Paul Kapp, Lucas Gloege, Sean Ridge, Junsheng Nie, Gisela Winckler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dust plays an important role in climate, and while our current representation of dust production includes shifts in vegetation, soil moisture, and ice cover, it does not account for the role of landscape evolution. Here, we use the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled to an aerosol chemistry model to quantify the effects of arid landscape evolution on boundary layer conditions, dust production, and radiative properties in the Hami Basin, China, a dynamic stony desert in eastern Asia. Relative to today, altered surface roughness, sediment erodibility, and albedo combine to produce up to a ~44% increase in wind speeds (mean ≈ 15%), up to a ~59% increase in dust loading (mean ≈ 30%), and up to a ~4.4 W m−2 increase in downwelling radiation (mean ≈ 2.4 W m−2) over the Hami Basin. Our modeling results, along with geomorphological data for the western Gobi Desert, provide evidence that stony deserts acted as important Plio-Pleistocene dust sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL090064
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 28 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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