A dust storm is a meteorological phenomenon common in arid and semi-arid regions. Dust storms arise when a gust front or other strong wind blows loose sand and dirt from a dry surface. Fine particles are transported by saltation and suspension, a process that moves soil from one place and deposits it in another.
Drylands around North Africa and the Arabian peninsula are the main terrestrial sources of airborne dust. It has been argued that poor management of the Earth's drylands, such as neglecting the fallow system, are increasing dust storms size and frequency from desert margins and changing both the local and global climate, and also impacting local economies.
The term sandstorm is used most often in the context of desert dust storms, especially in the Sahara Desert, or places where sand is a more prevalent soil type than dirt or rock, 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.
|Effect||May cause coughing and spread dust.|
As the force of wind passing over loosely held particles increases, particles of sand first start to vibrate, then to saltate ("leaps"). As they repeatedly strike the ground, they loosen and break off smaller particles of dust which then begin to travel in suspension. 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.
A study from 2008 finds that the initial saltation of sand particles induces a static electric field by friction. Saltating sand acquires a negative charge relative to the ground which in turn loosens more sand particles which then begin saltating. This process has been found to double the number of particles predicted by previous theories.
Particles become loosely held mainly due to a prolonged drought or arid conditions, and high wind speeds. Gust fronts may be produced by the outflow of rain-cooled air from an intense thunderstorm. Or, the wind gusts may be produced by a dry cold front, that is, a cold front that is moving into a dry air mass and is producing no precipitation—the type of dust storm which was common during the Dust Bowl 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.
One poor farming practice which contributes to dust storms is dryland farming. Particularly poor dryland farming techniques are intensive tillage or not having established crops or cover crops when storms strike at particularly vulnerable times prior to revegetation. In a semi-arid climate, these practices increase susceptibility to dust storms. However, soil conservation practices may be implemented to control wind erosion.
A sandstorm can transport and carry large volumes of sand unexpectedly. Dust storms can carry large amounts of dust, with the leading edge being composed of a wall of thick dust as much as 1.6 km (0.99 mi) 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, with occurrences being most common in the summer.
The Sahara desert is a key source of dust storms, particularly the Bodélé Depression and an area covering the confluence of Mauritania, Mali, and Algeria. Sahara dust is frequently emitted into the Mediterranean atmosphere and transported by the winds sometimes as far north as central Europe and Great Britain. 
Saharan dust storms have increased approximately 10-fold during the half-century since the 1950s, causing topsoil loss in Niger, Chad, northern Nigeria, and Burkina 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. 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 have cooled Atlantic waters enough to slightly reduce hurricane activity in late 2007.
Dust storms have also been shown to increase the spread of disease across the globe. Virus spores in the ground are blown into the atmosphere by the storms with the minute particles and interact with urban air pollution.
Short-term effects of exposure to desert dust include immediate increased symptoms and worsening of the lung function in individuals with asthma, increased mortality and morbidity from long-transported dust from both Saharan and Asian dust storms suggesting that long-transported dust storm particles adversely affects the circulatory system. Dust pneumonia is the result of large amounts of dust being inhaled.
Prolonged and unprotected exposure of the respiratory system in a dust storm can also cause silicosis, which, if left untreated, will lead to asphyxiation; silicosis is an incurable condition that may also lead to lung cancer. There is also the danger of keratoconjunctivitis sicca ("dry eyes") which, in severe cases without immediate and proper treatment, can lead to blindness.
Dust storms cause soil loss from the dry lands, 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. Dust storms also reduced visibility affecting aircraft and road transportation. In addition dust storms also create problems due to complications of breathing in dust.
Dust can also have beneficial effects where it deposits: Central and South American rain forests get most of their mineral nutrients from the Sahara; iron-poor ocean regions get iron; and dust in Hawaii increases plantain growth. In northern China as well as the mid-western U.S., ancient dust storm deposits known as loess are highly fertile soils, but they are also a significant source of contemporary dust storms when soil-securing vegetation is disturbed.
Dust storms are not limited to Earth and have been known to form on other planets such as Mars. These dust storms can extend over larger areas than those on Earth, sometimes encircling the planet, with wind speeds as high as 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). However, given Mars' much lower atmospheric pressure (roughly 1% that of Earth's), the intensity of Mars storms could never reach the kind of hurricane-force winds that are experienced on Earth. Martian dust storms are formed when solar heating warms the Martian atmosphere and causes the air to move, lifting dust off the ground. The chance for storms is increased when there are great temperature variations like those seen at the equator during the Martian summer.
The 1983 Melbourne dust storm was a meteorological phenomenon that occurred during the afternoon of 8 February 1983, throughout much of Victoria, Australia and affected the capital, Melbourne. Red soil, dust and sand from Central and Southeastern Australia was swept up in high winds and carried southeast through Victoria. The dust storm was one of the most dramatic consequences of the 1982/83 drought, at the time the worst in Australian history and is, in hindsight, viewed as a precursor to the Ash Wednesday bushfires which were to occur eight days later.2009 Australian dust storm
The 2009 Australian dust storm, also known as the Eastern Australian dust storm, was a dust storm that swept across the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland from 22 to 24 September. The capital, Canberra, experienced the dust storm on 22 September, and on 23 September the storm reached Sydney and Brisbane. Some of the thousands of tons of dirt and soil lifted in the dust storm were dumped in Sydney Harbour and the Tasman Sea.
On 23 September, the dust plume measured more than 500 kilometres (310 mi) in width and 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) in length and covered dozens of towns and cities in two states. By 24 September, analysis using MODIS at NASA measured the distance from the northern edge at Cape York to the southern edge of the plume to be 3,450 km. While the cloud was visible from space, on the ground the intense red-orange colour and drop in temperature drew comparisons with nuclear winter, Armageddon, and the planet Mars.The dust storm was described by the Bureau of Meteorology as a "pretty incredible event" that was the worst in the state of New South Wales in nearly 70 years. The phenomenon was reported around the world. The Weather Channel's Richard Whitaker said: "This is unprecedented. We are seeing earth, wind and fire together". It was later referred to as "The mother of all dust storms."2010 China drought and dust storms
The 2010 China drought and dust storms were a series of severe droughts during the spring of 2010 that affected Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Sichuan, Shanxi, Henan, Shaanxi, Chongqing, Hebei and Gansu in the People's Republic of China as well as parts of Southeast Asia including Vietnam and Thailand, and dust storms in March and April that affected much of East Asia. The drought has been referred to as the wortury in southwestern China.2018 Indian dust storms
From 2 to 3 May 2018, high-velocity dust storms swept across parts of North India and more than 125 people died and over 200 injured.
In Uttar Pradesh, 43 died in the city of Agra and at least 30 died elsewhere in the state. In neighboring Rajasthan, at least 35 people died and over 200 were injured after winds downed more than 8,000 electricity poles and uprooted hundreds of trees. Storms are not uncommon in the region; however, because these storms occurred at night and with greater wind speeds than average, the death toll was higher than usual.Atmosphere of Mars
The atmosphere of the planet Mars is composed mostly of carbon dioxide. The atmospheric pressure on the Martian surface averages 600 pascals (0.087 psi; 6.0 mbar), about 0.6% of Earth's mean sea level pressure of 101.3 kilopascals (14.69 psi; 1.013 bar). It ranges from a low of 30 pascals (0.0044 psi; 0.30 mbar) on Olympus Mons's peak to over 1,155 pascals (0.1675 psi; 11.55 mbar) in the depths of Hellas Planitia. This pressure is well below the Armstrong limit for the unprotected human body. Mars's atmospheric mass of 25 teratonnes compares to Earth's 5148 teratonnes; Mars has a scale height of 11.1 kilometres (6.9 mi) versus Earth's 8.5 kilometres (5.3 mi).The Martian atmosphere consists of approximately 96% carbon dioxide, 1.9% argon, 1.9% nitrogen, and traces of free oxygen, carbon monoxide, water and methane, among other gases, for a mean molar mass of 43.34 g/mol. There has been renewed interest in its composition since the detection of traces of methane in 2003 that may indicate life but may also be produced by a geochemical process, volcanic or hydrothermal activity.The atmosphere is quite dusty, giving the Martian sky a light brown or orange-red color when seen from the surface; data from the Mars Exploration Rovers indicate suspended particles of roughly 1.5 micrometres in diameter.On 16 December 2014, NASA reported detecting an unusual increase, then decrease, in the amounts of methane in the atmosphere of the planet Mars. Organic chemicals have been detected in powder drilled from a rock by the Curiosity rover. Based on deuterium to hydrogen ratio studies, much of the water at Gale Crater on Mars was found to have been lost during ancient times, before the lakebed in the crater was formed; afterwards, large amounts of water continued to be lost.On 18 March 2015, NASA reported the detection of an aurora that is not fully understood and an unexplained dust cloud in the atmosphere of Mars.On 4 April 2015, NASA reported studies, based on measurements by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity rover, of the Martian atmosphere using xenon and argon isotopes. Results provided support for a "vigorous" loss of atmosphere early in the history of Mars and were consistent with an atmospheric signature found in bits of atmosphere captured in some Martian meteorites found on Earth. This was further supported by results from the MAVEN orbiter circling Mars, that the solar wind is responsible for stripping away the atmosphere of Mars over the years.In September 2017, NASA reported radiation levels on the surface of the planet Mars were temporarily doubled, and were associated with an aurora 25 times brighter than any observed earlier due to a massive, and unexpected, solar storm in the middle of the month.On 1 June 2018, NASA scientists detected signs of a dust storm (see image) on the planet Mars which resulted in the end of the solar-powered Opportunity rover's mission since the dust blocked the sunlight (see image) needed to operate; as of 12 June, the storm is the worst ever recorded at the surface of the planet, and spanned an area about the size of North America and Russia combined (about a quarter of the planet); as of 13 June, Opportunity was reported to be experiencing serious communication problems due to the dust storm; a NASA teleconference about the dust storm was presented on 13 June 2018 at 01:30 pm/et/usa and is available for replay. In July 2018, researchers reported that the largest single source of dust on the planet Mars comes from the Medusae Fossae Formation.On 7 June 2018, NASA announced a cyclical seasonal variation in atmospheric methane.Black Sunday (storm)
Black Sunday refers to a particularly severe dust storm that occurred on April 14, 1935, as part of the Dust Bowl. It was one of the worst dust storms in American history and it caused immense economic and agricultural damage. It is estimated to have displaced 300 million tons of topsoil from the prairie area in the US.On the afternoon of April 14, the residents of the Plains States were forced to take cover as a dust storm, or "black blizzard", blew through the region. The storm hit the Oklahoma Panhandle and Northwestern Oklahoma first, and moved south for the remainder of the day. It hit Beaver around 4:00 p.m., Boise City around 5:15 p.m., and Amarillo, Texas, at 7:20 p.m. The conditions were the most severe in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, but the storm's effects were felt in other surrounding areas.The storm was harsh due to the high winds that hit the area that day. The combination of drought, erosion, bare soil, and winds caused the dust to fly freely and at high speeds.Climate of Mars
The climate of the planet Mars has been a topic of scientific curiosity for centuries, in part because it is the only terrestrial planet whose surface can be directly observed in detail from the Earth with help from a telescope.
Although Mars is smaller than the Earth, at 11% of Earth's mass, and 50% farther from the Sun than the Earth, its climate has important similarities, such as the presence of polar ice caps, seasonal changes and observable weather patterns. It has attracted sustained study from planetologists and climatologists. While Mars's climate has similarities to Earth's, including periodic ice ages, there are also important differences, such as much lower thermal inertia. Mars's atmosphere has a scale height of approximately 11 km (36,000 ft), 60% greater than that on Earth. The climate is of considerable relevance to the question of whether life is or was present on the planet. The climate briefly received more interest in the news due to NASA measurements indicating increased sublimation of one near-polar region leading to some popular press speculation that Mars was undergoing a parallel bout of global warming, although Mars's average temperature has actually cooled in recent decades, and the polar caps themselves are growing.
Mars has been studied by Earth-based instruments since the 17th century, but it is only since the exploration of Mars began in the mid-1960s that close-range observation has been possible. Flyby and orbital spacecraft have provided data from above, while landers and rovers have measured atmospheric conditions directly. Advanced Earth-orbital instruments today continue to provide some useful "big picture" observations of relatively large weather phenomena.
The first Martian flyby mission was Mariner 4, which arrived in 1965. That quick two-day pass (July 14–15, 1965) with crude instruments contributed little to the state of knowledge of Martian climate. Later Mariner missions (Mariner 6, and Mariner 7) filled in some of the gaps in basic climate information. Data-based climate studies started in earnest with the Viking program landers in 1975 and continue with such probes as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
This observational work has been complemented by a type of scientific computer simulation called the Mars general circulation model. Several different iterations of MGCM have led to an increased understanding of Mars as well as the limits of such models.Dust Commander
Dust Commander (February 8, 1967 – October 7, 1991) was an American Thoroughbred race horse.Dust Storm Warning
A Dust Storm Warning (SAME code: DSW) is issued by the National Weather Service in the United States when blowing dust is expected to frequently reduce visibility to 1⁄4 mile (400 m) or less, generally with winds of 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) or more.Beginning November 1, 2018, the National Weather Service will issue these Dust Storm Warnings in an experimental polygon and storm-based format, similar to the format of Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warnings. The zone-based Dust Storm Warning was replaced by the new Blowing Dust Warning product. In addition to the new Dust Storm Warning format, a lesser-impact Dust Advisory will be issued by the National Weather Service if the criteria for a warning isn’t met and if travel impacts are still expected.Dust devil tracks
Many areas on Mars experience the passage of giant dust devils. These dust devils leave tracks on the surface of Mars because they disturb a thin coating of fine bright dust that covers most of the Martian surface. When a dust devil goes by it blows away the coating and exposes the underlying dark surface. Within a few weeks, the dark track assumes its former bright colour, either by being re-covered through wind action or due to surface oxidation through exposure to sunlight and the Martian atmosphere.Haboob
A haboob (Arabic: هَبوب, translit. habūb, lit. 'blasting/drifting') is a type of intense dust storm carried on an atmospheric gravity current, also known as a weather front. Haboobs occur regularly in dry land area regions throughout the world.List of severe weather phenomena
Severe weather phenomena are weather conditions that are hazardous to human life and property.Mars rover
A Mars rover is a motor vehicle that travels across the surface of the planet Mars upon arrival. Rovers have several advantages over stationary landers: they examine more territory, they can be directed to interesting features, they can place themselves in sunny positions to weather winter months, and they can advance the knowledge of how to perform very remote robotic vehicle control. Mars
There have been four successful robotically operated Mars rovers, all managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Sojourner, Opportunity, Spirit and Curiosity. On January 24, 2016, NASA reported that current studies on Mars by Curiosity and Opportunity (the latter now defunct) would be searching for evidence of ancient life, including a biosphere based on autotrophic, chemotrophic or chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms, as well as ancient water, including fluvio-lacustrine environments (plains related to ancient rivers or lakes) that may have been habitable. The search for evidence of habitability, taphonomy (related to fossils), and organic carbon on Mars is now a primary NASA objective. In June 2018, Opportunity went out of contact after going into hibernation mode in a dust storm. NASA declared the Opportunity mission ended on February 13, 2019, after numerous failures to wake up the rover from the repeated signals.Mars 2, Mars 3 were physically tethered probes; Sojourner was dependent on the Mars Pathfinder base station for communication with Earth; MER-A & B and Curiosity were on their own. As of February 2019, Curiosity is still active, while Spirit, Opportunity, and Sojourner completed their missions before losing contact.Opportunity (rover)
Opportunity, also known as MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover – B) or MER-1, and nicknamed "Oppy", is a robotic rover that was active on Mars from 2004 to late 2018. Launched on July 7, 2003, as part of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover program, it landed in Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004, three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A) touched down on the other side of the planet. With a planned 90-sol duration of activity (slightly more than 90 Earth days), Spirit functioned until it got stuck in 2009 and ceased communications in 2010, while Opportunity was able to stay operational for 5111 sols after landing, maintaining its power and key systems through continual recharging of its batteries using solar power, and hibernating during events such as dust storms to save power. This careful operation allowed Opportunity to exceed its operating plan by 14 years, 46 days (in Earth time), 55 times its designed lifespan. By June 10, 2018, when it last contacted NASA, the rover had traveled a distance of 45.16 kilometers (28.06 miles).Mission highlights included the initial 90-sol mission, finding extramartian meteorites such as Heat Shield Rock (Meridiani Planum meteorite), and over two years of exploring and studying Victoria crater. The rover survived moderate dust storms and in 2011 reached Endeavour crater, which has been described as a "second landing site". The Opportunity mission is considered one of NASA's most successful ventures.Due to the planetary 2018 dust storm on Mars, Opportunity ceased communications on June 10 and entered hibernation on June 12, 2018. It was hoped it would reboot once the weather cleared, but it did not, suggesting either a catastrophic failure or that a layer of dust had covered its solar panels. NASA hoped to re-establish contact with the rover, citing a windy period that could potentially clean off its solar panels. On February 13, 2019, NASA officials declared that the Opportunity mission was complete, after the spacecraft had failed to respond to over 1,000 signals sent since August 2018.Ptolemaeus (Martian crater)
Ptolemaeus is a crater on Mars, found in the Phaethontis quadrangle at 46.21° south latitude and 157.6° west longitude. It measures approximately 165 kilometers in diameter and was named after Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy), the Greco-Egyptian astronomer (c. AD 90-160). Mantle material that is believed to have fallen from the sky is visible in the crater.
The Soviet probe Mars 3 is thought to have successfully landed in Ptolemaeus Crater in 2 December 1971, but contact was lost seconds after landing due do a dust storm occurring at the time. On 11 April 2013, NASA announced that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) may have imaged the Mars 3 lander hardware on the surface of Mars. The HiRISE camera on the MRO took images of what may be the parachute, retrorockets, heat shield and lander.Ryn Desert
The Ryn Desert or Ryn-Peski Desert (Kazakh: Нарын-Құм Naryn-Qum), is a desert in western Kazakhstan north of the Caspian Sea and southeast of the Volga Upland. The borders of the desert are very loosely defined. Some maps show the desert almost entirely within the Caspian Depression, stretching almost to the coast of the Caspian Sea, while others show it north of the depression. It lies west of the Ural River between 46° N and 49° N latitude, and 47° E to 52° E longitude. Temperatures can reach extreme highs of 45 to 48 °C (113 to 118 °F) during summer and in winter it can drop to a low of −28 to −36 °C (−18 to −33 °F).
Many small towns are scattered throughout the Ryn Desert, and population density is between 1 and 15 people per square mile. The Ryn lies in a semi-arid climate zone, and receives very little rainfall.
High winds sweep across the desert, and in 2001 a dust storm in the Baltic Sea was determined as originating in the Ryn Desert. A study of long-range dust transportation to the Baltic Sea region—by analyzing dust pollution in Scandinavia, showed that aerosol concentrations there were influenced more by the Ryn Desert region than the Sahara Desert in Africa.Sandstorm (disambiguation)
Sandstorm may refer to:
Dust storm, a storm caused by strong wind and sand or dustShamal (wind)
A shamal (Arabic: شمال, 'north') is a northwesterly wind blowing over Iraq and the Persian Gulf states (including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait), often strong during the day, but decreasing at night. This weather effect occurs anywhere from once to several times a year, mostly in summer but sometimes in winter. The resulting wind typically creates large sandstorms that impact Iraq, most sand having been picked up from Jordan and Syria.The Dust Storm (2015 film)
The Dust Storm is an American drama musical romance film directed by Anthony Baldino and Ryan Lacen. It was released digitally on December 13, 2016.