Publication Abstracts

Tegen et al. 1996

Tegen, I., A.A. Lacis, and I. Fung, 1996: The influence of mineral aerosols from disturbed soils on the global radiation budget. Nature, 380, 419-422, doi:10.1038/380419a0.

Aerosols influence the global radiation budget, and so changes in the atmospheric aerosol load due to either natural causes or human activity will contribute to climate change. A large fraction of the mass of tropospheric aerosol is wind-blown mineral dust, and its contribution to radiative forcing can be locally significant. Model calculations indicate that 50±20% of the total atmospheric dust mass originates from disturbed soils (those affected by cultivation, deforestation, erosion, and frequent shifts in vegetation due to droughts and rains). Here, using a radiative transfer model embedded in a general circulation model, we find that dust from disturbed soils causes a decrease of the net surface radiation forcing of about 1 W/m2, accompanied by increased atmospheric heating that may be a significant forcing of atmospheric dynamics. These findings suggest that mineral dust from disturbed soils needs to be included among the climate forcing factors that are influenced by human activities.