sand_sem.jpggobi-desert-hot-sand-dune-37544.jpegClean Sand 10-8-05-a.jpg
Mineral dust aerosols affect climate, nutrient cycles, and human health through a wide variety of interactions. Although most research has assumed that dust is exclusively generated by the impacts of hopping sand grains ejecting pre-existing dust-sized particles from soils, recent studies suggests that a substantial fraction of global dust emissions arises from abrasion of wind-blown sand. This would have major implications for accurately representing the dust cycle. The project aim is to test the hypothesis that aeolian sand abrasion is a substantial dust source by integrating targeted laboratory experiments and field observations with mathematical modeling. These experimental and field observations will be combined to derive a quantitative theory for dust generation from aeolian abrasion. This research will advance our understanding of the global dust cycle through (i) advancing basic knowledge of dust generation mechanisms, (ii) determining relative contributions of different dust emission processes, and (iii) informing dust emission schemes in climate models. Results will also inform modeling of terrestrial and planetary aeolian abrasion and the resulting landscape development.