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Volume 16, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 5159–5169, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-5159-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Anthropogenic dust and its climate impact

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 5159–5169, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-5159-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 25 Apr 2016

Research article | 25 Apr 2016

The relationship between anthropogenic dust and population over global semi-arid regions

Xiaodan Guan1, Jianping Huang1, Yanting Zhang1, Yongkun Xie1, and Jingjing Liu2 Xiaodan Guan et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • 2School of Mechanical and Instrument Engineering, Xi'an University of Technology, Xi'an 710048, China

Abstract. Although anthropogenic dust has received more attention from the climate research community, its dominant role in the production process is still not identified. In this study, we analysed the relationship between anthropogenic dust and population density/change over global semi-arid regions and found that semi-arid regions are major source regions in producing anthropogenic dust. The results showed that the relationship between anthropogenic dust and population is more obvious in cropland than in other land cover types (crop mosaics, grassland, and urbanized regions) and that the production of anthropogenic dust increases as the population density grows to more than 90 persons km−2. Four selected semi-arid regions, namely East China, India, North America, and North Africa, were used to explore the relationship between anthropogenic dust production and regional population. The most significant relationship between anthropogenic dust and population occurred in an Indian semi-arid region that had a greater portion of cropland, and the high peak of anthropogenic dust probability appeared with 220 persons km−2 of population density and 60 persons km−2 of population change. These results suggest that the influence of population on production of anthropogenic dust in semi-arid regions is obvious in cropland regions. However, the impact does not always have a positive contribution to the production of anthropogenic dust, and overly excessive population will suppress the increase of anthropogenic dust. Moreover, radiative and climate effects of increasing anthropogenic dust need more investigation.

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An obvious peak in the total anthropogenic dust column, with much higher magnitude than those of wet regions, was observed in semi-arid regions. The anthropogenic dust column burden of semi-arid takes a positively correlated with the population and population change, indicating the production of anthropogenic dust in semi-arid regions is partly induced by human activities.
An obvious peak in the total anthropogenic dust column, with much higher magnitude than those of...
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