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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)