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      The physics of wind-blown sand and dust

      , , ,
      Reports on Progress in Physics
      IOP Publishing

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          Aerosols, climate, and the hydrological cycle.

          Human activities are releasing tiny particles (aerosols) into the atmosphere. These human-made aerosols enhance scattering and absorption of solar radiation. They also produce brighter clouds that are less efficient at releasing precipitation. These in turn lead to large reductions in the amount of solar irradiance reaching Earth's surface, a corresponding increase in solar heating of the atmosphere, changes in the atmospheric temperature structure, suppression of rainfall, and less efficient removal of pollutants. These aerosol effects can lead to a weaker hydrological cycle, which connects directly to availability and quality of fresh water, a major environmental issue of the 21st century.
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            Global iron connections between desert dust, ocean biogeochemistry, and climate.

            The environmental conditions of Earth, including the climate, are determined by physical, chemical, biological, and human interactions that transform and transport materials and energy. This is the "Earth system": a highly complex entity characterized by multiple nonlinear responses and thresholds, with linkages between disparate components. One important part of this system is the iron cycle, in which iron-containing soil dust is transported from land through the atmosphere to the oceans, affecting ocean biogeochemistry and hence having feedback effects on climate and dust production. Here we review the key components of this cycle, identifying critical uncertainties and priorities for future research.
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              Environmental characterization of global sources of atmospheric soil dust identified with the NIMBUS 7 Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) absorbing aerosol product

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Reports on Progress in Physics
                Rep. Prog. Phys.
                IOP Publishing
                0034-4885
                1361-6633
                October 01 2012
                October 01 2012
                September 14 2012
                : 75
                : 10
                : 106901
                Article
                10.1088/0034-4885/75/10/106901
                a0257282-2f4c-44ae-910d-4bb4b282c8b7
                © 2012

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