A Dust Cloud That Lowered Temperatures Around The World

Using satellite data, scientists tracked dust clouds created by a massive Chinese dust storm in 2007, and discovered that they circled the globe in 13 days. And the clouds may have affected weather half-way around the world.

According to a release from Nature Geoscience, where the study was published yesterday:

Itsushi Uno and colleagues used satellite and model data to show that a storm in China's Taklimakan Desert in May 2007 generated dust clouds that were lifted 8-10 km above the Earth's surface, and transported more than one full circle around the Earth. When the dust reached the north-western Pacific Ocean for a second time, the subsidence of a high-pressure system caused the dust-laden clouds to descend into the lower atmosphere and some of the dust was then deposited in the ocean.

The analysis also suggests that the dust particles may have triggered ice formation in the high-altitude clouds.

The researchers suggest that this ice could have affected temperature as well.

Coupled with the amazing infographic, above, this news makes it clear that particles in the atmosphere affect the entire Earth - not just the regions where they formed. This obviously tells us something about how pollution could affect regions far removed from it. But more generally, it gives scientists more information about the formation of weather patterns.

via Nature Geoscience