The instrumental observations of dust storm (DS) in China and in most countries of the world have only a history of 50–60 years, and the DS variability beyond this timescale cannot be understood properly. Here, we show that the DS frequency can be reconstructed using the coral reef environment records as a proxy. Based on the high-resolution sea surface temperature (SST) records previously reconstructed by Liu et al. (2008) and Sun et al. (2004), we reconstructed the variations of DS frequency and strong wind frequency in China from 1908 to 1959, using the 5-year moving average of the longitudinal SST gradient (GX-H,SST,5m) in the northern South China Sea (SCS) as an indicator. The calibration equation shows that GX-H,SST,5m explains 66% of the variation in the 5-year average of the DS frequency (FDS,5m) and 86% of the variation in the 5-year moving average of strong wind (FSW,5m) in China, respectively. A comparison between the reconstructed long series (1908–1990) and the observed short series (1960–1990) FDS,5m indicates that the mean, maximum, and minimum of the latter series is 10.8, 20.9, and 36.1% smaller than that of the former, demonstrating that the DS frequency strongly depends on timescales; the statistical characteristics over short timescales are quite different from those over long timescales.
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The financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 41371037) is gratefully acknowledged. We are grateful to Dr. Yi Liu et al. and Dr. Yali Sun et al., whose previously published data of coral SST records make the present study possible and to the anonymous reviewers, whose comments and suggestion are valuable for improvement of the manuscript. .
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Xu, J. Reconstruction of dust storm frequency in China using the SST signals recorded in coral reefs. Theor Appl Climatol 137, 2257–2269 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-018-2725-9