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Airborne dust is widely recognized as an important factor affecting global warming. In recent years, atmospheric dust has received attention from the public because dust is a vital indicator of aeolian activity and environmental quality. In addition, aeolian dust transport and deposition are important geophysical processes which influence global biogeochemical cycles. Deposition of airborne dust also plays a significant role in soil formation and biological diversity in arid and semi-arid regions. Therefore, an understanding of atmospheric dust sources, emissions and deposition is essential to improve our knowledge of the fate of dust in the atmosphere and its impact on regional air quality. 

The research group at the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (XIEG), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and other affiliations recently found that sand and dust storms are a major factor affecting the atmospheric environment in northwest China. Scientists had systematically investigated the spatial distribution and temporal variation in dust deposition and ambient PM10 (particulate matter in aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 µm) concentration from 2000 to 2013 in Xinjiang Province, northwest China. Their study showed that the annual dust deposition was greater in southern Xinjiang than northern and eastern Xinjiang. ‘Dust deposition was more intense during the spring and summer than other seasons. PM10 was the main air pollutant that significantly influenced regional air quality.’ said by Dr. Zhang Xiao-Xiao from the research group. His group suggested sand and dust storms are a major factor affecting the temporal variability and spatial distribution of dust deposition in northwest China. 

This investigation was published in February, 2017 in the international journal of Atmos. Chem. Phys., under the title ‘Dust deposition and ambient PM10 concentration in northwest China: spatial and temporal variability’. The full publication is available at http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/17/1699/2017/. 

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