Chinese Dust Cloud: Around the World in 13 Days

July 21, 2009

(ChattahBox)— A damaging dust storm event in China’s Taklimakan desert in 2007, created a massive dust cloud, which researchers tracked around the world, discovering the cloud made a full circle around the globe in just 13 days. The world really is getting smaller.

The Japanese researchers tracked the dust cloud with the help of a NASA satellite and and mathematical modeling. The dust cloud measured about 1.9 miles high up in the atmosphere and about 242 miles wide.

Not only did the massive dust cloud circle the world in just 13 days, it also deposited dust in the Pacific Ocean. Previous studies of dust clouds showed that Asian dust was usually deposited into the Yellow sea.

Lead researcher Itsushi Uno of Kyushu University’s Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, found that the dust cloud was propelled 5-6 miles into the atmosphere and made more than one complete circle around the earth.

This was the first time researchers were able to completely track a dust cloud.

“This means that dust concentration, dust lifetime is very long, more than two weeks,” said Uno.

The entire study is available in the the journal Nature Geoscience.

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