Spatial and temporal variations of blowing dust events in the Taklimakan Desert

Abstract

The Taklimakan Desert is the source of most blowing dust events in China. However, previous studies of sandstorms in this region have not included data from the inner desert because of the difficulty in making observations in this area. In this study, the spatial and temporal variations of blowing dust events, including sandstorms and blowing sand, and its relations with climatic parameters in the Taklimakan Desert were analyzed using data from ten desert-edge meteorological stations during 1961 to 2010 and two inner-desert meteorological stations during 1988 to 1990, 1996 to 2010, and 1992 to 2010. The results identified two regions (Pishan-Hotan-Minfeng and Xiaotang-Tazhong) where blowing dust events occur on average more than 80 days per year. The regions with the highest occurrence of sandstorms, blowing sand, and blowing dust events were different, with sandstorms centered in the north of the desert (Xiaotang, 46.9 days), whereas the central location for blowing sand (Pishan, 86.4 days) and blowing dust events (Minfeng, 113.5 days) activity was located at the southwestern and southern edges of the desert, respectively. The occurrence of sandstorms generally decreased from 1961 to 2010, while the occurrence of blowing sand increased from 1961 to 1979 and then generally decreased. The temporal variation of blowing dust events was mainly affected by the occurrence of strong wind and daily temperature, with average correlation coefficients of 0.46 and −0.41 for these variables across the whole desert.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41405013 and 41375163) and the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Public Basic Scientific Research Business Professional (IDM201103).

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Correspondence to Shuanghe Shen.

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Yang, X., Shen, S., Yang, F. et al. Spatial and temporal variations of blowing dust events in the Taklimakan Desert. Theor Appl Climatol 125, 669–677 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-015-1537-4

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Keywords

  • Dust
  • High Occurrence
  • Dust Concentration
  • Taklimakan Desert
  • Annual Average Number