GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 226-10
Presentation Time: 4:30 PM


KOK, Jasper F.1, RIDLEY, David A.2, ZHOU, Qing3, ZHAO, Chun4, MILLER, Ron L.5, HEALD, Colette L.2 and HAUSTEIN, Karsten6, (1)Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California - Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Math Science Bldg Room 7142, Los Angeles, CA 90095, (2)Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA 02139, (3)Department of Statistics, University of California - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, (4)Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352, (5)NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY 10025, (6)School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3QY, United Kingdom,

Mineral dust is one of the most ubiquitous aerosols in the atmosphere, with important effects on human health, the climate system, and loess formation. But despite its importance, the global atmospheric loading of dust has remained uncertain, with model results spanning about a factor of five. Here we constrain the particle size-resolved atmospheric dust loading and global emission rate, using a novel theoretical framework that uses experimental constraints on the optical properties and size distribution of dust to eliminate climate model errors due to assumed dust properties. We find that dust is by far the dominant atmospheric particle by mass, and that many climate models underestimate the global atmospheric loading and emission rate of dust aerosols.