06 Feb 2023
 | 06 Feb 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Multi-model ensemble projection of global dust cycle by the end of 21st century using CMIP6 data

Yuan Zhao, Xu Yue, Yang Cao, Jun Zhu, Chenguang Tian, Hao Zhou, Yuwen Chen, Yihan Hu, Weijie Fu, and Xu Zhao

Abstract. As a natural aerosol with the largest emissions on land, dust has important impacts on atmospheric environment and climate systems. Both the emissions and transport of dust aerosols are tightly connected to meteorological conditions and as a result are confronted with strong modulations by the changing climate. Here, we project the changes of global dust emissions and loading by the end of the 21st century using an ensemble of model outputs from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project version 6 (CMIP6) under four Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). Based on the validations against site-level observations, we select 5 out of 10 models and estimate an ensemble global dust emission of 3311 Tg a−1 (1 Tg = 1012 g) at present day, in which 75 % is dry deposited and 25 % is wet deposited. Compared to 2005–2014, global dust emissions show varied responses with a reduction of 15.8 Tg a−1 under the SSP3-7.0 scenario but increased emissions up to 53.4 Tg a−1 under the SSP5-8.5 scenario at 2090–2099. For all scenarios, the most significant increase of dust emissions appears in North Africa (0.4 %–4.7 %) due to the combined effects of reduced relative humidity and precipitation but strengthened surface wind. In contrast, all scenarios show decreased emissions in central Asia (−0.6 % to −20 %) and Middle East (0 to −2.8 %) because of the increased precipitation but decreased wind speed regionally. The dust loading shows uniform increases over North Africa (1 %−12.5 %) and the downwind Atlantic following the increased emissions, but decreases over East Asia (−3.4 % to −15.2 %) and the downwind Pacific due to enhanced local precipitation that promotes wet deposition. As a result, global dust loading will increase by 2.1 %–9.3 % at the end of the 21st century under different climate scenarios, suggesting a likely strengthened radiative and climatic perturbations by dust aerosols in a warmer climate.

Yuan Zhao et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-760', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Mar 2023
  • RC2: 'Comments on acp-2022-760', Anonymous Referee #2, 22 Mar 2023

Yuan Zhao et al.


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Short summary
We project the future changes of dust emissions and loading using an ensemble of model outputs from CMIP6 under four scenarios. We find increased dust emissions and loading in North Africa due to increased drought but strengthened surface wind, while decreased dust loading over Asia following the enhanced precipitation. Such spatial pattern remains similar though the regional intensity varies among different scenarios.