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Encyclopedia > Dust storm
A sandstorm approaching Al Asad, Iraq, just before nightfall on April 27 2005.
A sandstorm approaching Al Asad, Iraq, just before nightfall on April 27 2005.

A dust storm or sandstorm is a meteorological phenomenon common in arid and semi-arid regions and arises when a gust front passes or when the wind force exceeds the threshold value where loose sand and dust are removed from the dry surface. Particles are transported by saltation and suspension, causing soil erosion from one place and deposition in another. The Sahara and drylands around the Arabian peninsula are the main source of airborne dust, with some contributions from Iran, Pakistan and India into the Arabian Sea, and China's storms deposit dust in the Pacific. Recently, poor management of the Earth's drylands, such as neglecting the fallow system, are increasing dust storms from desert margins and changing both the local and global climate, and also impacting local economies.[1] Look up sandstorm in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3000x2000, 1037 KB) A massive sand storm cloud is close to enveloping a military camp as it rolls over Al Asad, Iraq, just before nightfall on April 27, 2005. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3000x2000, 1037 KB) A massive sand storm cloud is close to enveloping a military camp as it rolls over Al Asad, Iraq, just before nightfall on April 27, 2005. ... Abandoned Iraqi FT-7A in front of Al Asad ATC Tower Map showing Haditha in relation to Al Asad Airbase, the Navea Training center, Hit and Ramadi Al Asad is the largest US military base in the largely Sunni western Iraq (Al Anbar Province). ... April 27 is the 117th day of the year (118th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 248 days remaining. ... A meteorological phenomenon is one of several commonplace or unusual weather events which illuminate and are explained by the principles of meteorology. ... In general terms, the climate of a locale or region is said to be arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or even preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life. ... Semi-arid generally describes regions that receive low annual rainfall (25 to 50 cm /10 to 20 in) and generally have scrub or grass vegetation. ... A gust front is a weather front that is the leading edge of gusty surface winds from thunderstorm downdrafts; sometimes associated with a shelf cloud or roll cloud. ... In geology, saltation (from Latin, saltus, leap) refers to a bouncing-like motion when alluvium is dislodged from the streambed, travels in a parabolic path through the stream water, and then impacts back on to the bed. ... Severe soil erosion in a wheat field near Washington State University, USA. Erosion is the displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock, and so forth) by the agents of wind, water, ice, or movement in response to gravity. ... Deposition is a word used in many fields to describe different processes: In law, deposition is the taking of testimony outside of court. ... Xeric redirects here. ... The Arabian Peninsula Emirets towers in United Arab Emirates; the eastern part of Arabian Penisula The Arabian Peninsula (in Arabic: شبه الجزيرة العربية, or جزيرة العرب) is a peninsula in Southwest Asia at the junction of Africa and Asia consisting mainly of desert. ... The Arabian Sea (Arabic: بحر العرب; transliterated: Bahr al-Arab) is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui, the north-east point of Somalia... For other meanings of Pacific, see Pacific (disambiguation). ... Growing the same crop repeatedly in the same place eventually depletes the soil of various nutrients. ...

The term sandstorm is used most often in the context of desert sandstorms, especially in the Sahara, when, in addition to fine particles obscuring visibility, a considerable amount of larger sand particles are blown closer to the surface. The term dust storm is more likely to be used when finer particles are blown long distances, especially when the dust storm affects urban areas. This article is about arid terrain. ... Cities with at least a million inhabitants in 2006 An urban area is an area with an increased density of human-created structures in comparison to the areas surrounding it. ...



United States Dust Bowl, from 1935
United States Dust Bowl, from 1935

As the force of wind passing over loosely held particles increases, the smallest particles first start to vibrate, then to saltate ("leap"), and to travel in suspension and to land again possibly bouncing or causing other particles to move. At wind speeds above that which causes the smallest to suspend, there will be a population of dust grains moving by a range of mechanisms: suspension, saltation and creep.[1] Download high resolution version (1200x730, 1059 KB)Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas. ... Download high resolution version (1200x730, 1059 KB)Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas. ... Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas, in 1935. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ...

Particles become loosely held mainly due to drought or arid conditions, and wind has varied causes. Gust fronts may be produced by the outflow of rain-cooled air from an intense thunderstorm, or they may represent a dry cold front, that is, a cold front that is moving into a dry air mass and is producing no precipitation. This is the type of dust storm which was common during the Dustbowl years in the U.S. Following the passage of a dry cold front, convective instability resulting from cooler air riding over heated ground can maintain the dust storm initiated at the front. In desert areas, dust and sand storms are most commonly caused by either thunderstorm outflows, or by strong pressure gradients which cause an increase in wind velocity over a wide area. The vertical extent of the dust or sand that is raised is largely determined by the stability of the atmosphere above the ground as well as by the weight of the particulates. In some cases, dust and sand may be confined to a relatively shallow layer by a low-lying temperature inversion. In other instances, dust (but not sand) may be lifted as high as 20,000 feet (6,100 m) high. In meteorology, a weather front is a boundary between two air masses with differing characteristics (e. ... Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas During the Great Depression, in portions of the North American Great Plains there was a years-long drought, leading to soil erosion and dust storms usually referred to as the Dust Bowl. ... Convection in the most general terms refers to the internal movement of currents within fluids (i. ... Smoke rising in Lochcarron is stopped by an overlying layer of warmer air. ...

Drought and wind contribute to the emergence of dust storms, as do poor farming and grazing practices by exposing the dust and sand to the wind. Fields outside Benambra, Victoria, Australia suffering from drought conditions A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. ... For other uses, see Wind (disambiguation). ... Farming, ploughing rice paddy, in Indonesia Agriculture is the process of producing food, feed, fiber and other desired products by cultivation of certain plants and the raising of domesticated animals (livestock). ...

Physical and environmental impacts

A sandstorm can move whole sand dunes. Dust storms can carry large amounts of dust, so much so that the leading edge of one can appear as a solid wall of dust as much as 1.6 km (1 mile) high. Dust and sand storms which come off the Sahara Desert are locally known as a simoom or simoon (sîmūm, sîmūn). The haboob (həbūb) is a sandstorm prevalent in the region of Sudan around Khartoum. The Sahara is the worlds second largest desert (second to Antarctica), over 9,000,000 km² (3,500,000 mi²), located in northern Africa and is 2. ... A Simoom is astrong, dry, dust-laden desert wind that blows in the Sahara, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and the desert of Arabia. ... A haboob is a type of intense dust storm characteristic of very dry regions. ... Nickname: Khartoums location in Sudan Coordinates: , Government  - Governor Abdul Halim al Mutafi Population (2005)  - Urban Over 1 Million For other uses, see Khartoum (disambiguation). ...

The Saharan desert is a key source of dust storms, particularly the Bodélé Depression[2] and an area covering the confluence of Mauritania, Mali, and Algeria.[3] You may be looking for: Sahara Desert Saharan languages, a subgroup of the Nilo-Saharan languages Categories: Disambiguation ... Dust storm in the Bodele Depression. ...

Saharan dust storms have increased approximately 10-fold during the half-century since the 1950s, causing topsoil loss in Niger, Chad, northern Nigeria, and Burkino Faso. In Mauritania there were just two dust storms a year in the early 1960s, but there are about 80 a year today, according to Andrew Goudie, a professor of geography at Oxford University.[4][5] Levels of Saharan dust coming off the east coast of Africa in June (2007) were five times those observed in June 2006, and were the highest observed since at least 1999, which may cool Atlantic waters enough to slightly reduce hurricane activity in late 2007.[6][7] This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Economic impact

Dust storms cause soil loss from the drylands, and worse, they preferentially remove organic matter and the nutrient-rich lightest particles, thereby reducing agricultural productivity. Also the abrasive effect of the storm damages young crop plants. Other effects that may impact the economy are: reduced visibility affecting aircraft and road transportation; reduced sunlight reaching the surface; increased cloud formation increasing the heat blanket effect; high level dust sometimes obscures the sun over Florida; effects on human health of breathing dust.

Dust can also have beneficial effects where it deposits: Central and South American rainforests get most of their mineral nutrients from the Sahara; iron-poor oceans regions get iron; and dust in Hawaii increases plantain growth. Species Musa × paradisiaca A big load of plantains in Masaya, Nicaragua The plantain (pronounced [ˈplænteɪn] or [ˈplæntɪn][1]) is a species of the genus Musa and is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana (which is sometimes called the dessert banana). ...

Extraterrestrial dust storms

See Climate of Mars#Effect of dust storms. Mars has a reasonably well studied climate, starting in earnest with the Viking program in 1975 and continuing with such probes as the highly successful Mars Global Surveyor. ...

Notable dust storms

  • A series of dust storms displaced hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers in the central United States and Canada during the Dust Bowl.
  • A dust storm that occurred near Tucson, Arizona, USA on July 16, 1971 was extensively documented by meteorologists.
  • On the afternoon of February 8, 1983, a huge dust storm originating in the Mallee region of Victoria, Australia covered the city of Melbourne.
  • On Saturday afternoon of February 24, 2007, a large dust storm originating in the West Texas area of Amarillo covered much of the North Texas area. Strong winds caused extensive property damage to fences, roof shingles, and some buildings. The DFW Airport was severely affected, causing extensive flight delays into and out of the DFW area. Area residents suffered respiratory problems and allergic reactions, causing many people to visit hospitals.
  • In June 2007, a large dust storm struck Karachi Pakistan and areas of the Sindh and lower Balochistan, followed by a series of heavy rainfalls which resulted in a death toll of nearly 200.

Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas, in 1935. ... is the 197th day of the year (198th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... is the 39th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ... The Mallee is the most northwesterly district in the state of Victoria. ... “VIC” redirects here. ... This article is about the Australian city; the name may also refer to City of Melbourne or Melbourne city centre. ... is the 55th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... Official language(s) No official language See languages of Texas Capital Austin Largest city Houston Largest metro area Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington Area  Ranked 2nd  - Total 261,797 sq mi (678,051 km²)  - Width 773 miles (1,244 km)  - Length 790 miles (1,270 km)  - % water 2. ... Amarillo is a city located in Texas, USA and is part of the West Texas region. ... North Texas. ... Property damage is damage or destruction done to public or private property, caused either by a person who is not its owner or by natural phenomena. ... Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, located between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, is the busiest airport in Texas and third busiest airport in the world in terms of operations. ... Respiration can refer to: Cellular respiration, which is the use of oxygen in the metabolism of organic molecules. ... This article needs cleanup. ...


See also

Asian Dust obscures the sun over Aizu-Wakamatsu, Japan on April 2nd, 2007 Asian Dust (also yellow dust, yellow sand, yellow wind, or China dust storms) is a seasonal meteorological phenomenon which affects much of East Asia sporadically during the springtime months. ... Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas, in 1935. ... Sirocco, scirocco, jugo or, rarely, siroc is a strong southerly to southeasterly wind in the Mediterranean that originates from the Sahara and similar North African regions. ... The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) is an intensely dry, warm and sometimes dust-laden layer of the atmosphere which often overlays the cooler, more-humid surface air of the Atlantic Ocean. ... Saharan dust events refer to clouds of dust which originate from the Sahara desert region of Northern Africa, near Lake Chad, and are propelled westwards across the Atlantic Ocean by clockwise motion of the anticyclone part of the North Atlantic Oscillation. ... A shamal overspreading Iraq A shamal is a summer northwesterly wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf, often strong during the day, but decreasing at night. ...


  1. ^ a b Victor R. Squires. Physics, Mechanics and Processes of Dust and Sandstorms. Adelaide University, Australia. Retrieved on 2007-07-29. 'Dust storms are a symptom of poor land management' ... 'True deserts are rarely the source of dust storms' ... 'desert margins are more often the principal source of damaging dust storms' ... 'Sahara region is the main source of aeolian dust'
  2. ^ The Bodélé depression: a single spot in the Sahara that provides most of the mineral dust to the Amazon forest. Ilan Koren et al 2006 Environ. Res. Lett. 1 014005 (5pp) doi:10.1088/1748-9326/1/1/014005 'about half of the annual dust supply to the Amazon basin is emitted from a single source: the Bodélé depression'
  3. ^ Saharan Dust: Sources and Trajectories N. J. Middleton, A. S. Goudie Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 26, No. 2 (2001), pp. 165-181
  4. ^ ENVIRONMENT: Around the Globe, Farmers Losing Ground Analysis by Lester R. Brown (Jun 27, 2007)
  5. ^ http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/Seg/PB2ch05_ss3.htm LOSING SOIL Lester R. Brown
  6. ^ http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?alias=scientists-examine-africa&chanId=sa003&modsrc=reuters Scientists examine African dust link to hurricanes ScientificAmerican.com August 10, 2007 "These last couple months have been the dustiest summer since 1999, about five times as dusty as last year. Right now ocean temperatures are cooler than average," said Amato Evan, a climate researcher at the University of Wisconsin. "There's a big difference compared to the last two years."
  7. ^ Storm Report: Dry air inhibits storms Saharan winds limit formation in warm Gulf Jim Bradshaw, 2007 July 5. Jeff Masters:"Levels of Saharan dust coming off the east coast of Africa in June were five times those observed in June 2006, and were the highest observed since at least 1999"

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 210th day of the year (211th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
Department of Public Safety Safety Tips-Dust Storms (228 words)
Dust storms are caused when high winds sweep across unplanted agricultural fields or dry desert terrain, causing dust to engulf nearby highways.
Dust storms are generally brief, but must be taken seriously because of blinding conditions on the highways.
Dust storms are more common between the May and September on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, Interstate 10 between Benson and the New Mexico State line, and on Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Yuma.
  More results at FactBites »



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