Anthropogenic dust emissions due to livestock trampling in a Mongolian temperate grassland
- 1Meteorology, Hydrology and Permafrost Laboratory, National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
- 2Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
- 3Kagawa University, Takamatsu, Japan
- 4Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan
- 5Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Tottori, Japan
- 6Desert Research Institute, Nevada University, Las Vegas, USA
Abstract. Mongolian grasslands are a natural dust source region and they contribute to anthropogenic dust due to the long tradition of raising livestock there. Past decades of abrupt changes in a nomadic society necessitate a study on the effects of livestock trampling on dust emissions, so that research studies may help maintain a sustainable ecosystem and well-conditioned atmospheric environment. In this study, we conducted a mini wind tunnel experiment (using a PI-SWERL® device) to measure dust emissions fluxes from trampling (at three disturbance levels of livestock density, N) and zero trampling (natural as the background level) at test areas in a Mongolian temperate grassland. Moreover, we scaled anthropogenic dust emissions to natural dust emissions as a relative consequence of livestock trampling. We found a substantial increase in dust emissions due to livestock trampling. This effect of trampling on dust emissions was persistent throughout all wind friction velocities, u* (varying from 0.44 to 0.82 m s−1). Significantly higher dust loading occurs after a certain disturbance level has been reached by the livestock trampling. Our results suggest that both friction velocity (u*) and disturbance level of livestock density (N) have an enormous combinational effect on dust emissions from the trampling test surface. This means that the effect of livestock trampling on dust emissions can be seen or revealed when wind is strong. Our results also emphasize that better management for livestock allocation coupled with strategies to prevent anthropogenic dust loads are needed. However, there are many uncertainties and assumptions to be improved on in this study.