Soil Erosion, Desertification and Dust Storms


Disappearance of topsoil causes desert expansion and crop reduction in regions across the world. –

How Soil Erosion Contributes to Desertification and Dust Storms

Combating desertification is not fighting against nature, but restoring a respect for it.



Dust obscures the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan (2001). Credit: Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE


“As Africa prospers, will diets improve?”

Photo credit: Google

South Africa’s farms are blowing away in Dust Bowl conditions

Africa: Focus On Poverty – Improving Nutrition Isn’t Just About Science




“As Africa prospers, will diets improve?” The media has been pondering this question lately. On the one hand, veteran environmentalist Lester Brown warns that huge dustbowls could leave regions of northern Africa in serious agricultural trouble. [2] On the other, SciDev.Net reports encouraging progress on sweet potato production in Africa. So what do we need to know to make an assessment? Two recent academic studies are useful.

On the verge of retirement, noted environmentalist and celebrated systems analyst Lester Brown has a dire warning for the world -
On the verge of retirement, noted environmentalist and celebrated systems analyst Lester Brown has a dire warning for the world –

Both books draw out several interesting policy lessons and make clear that scientific research is only one element among many needed to improve people’s diets.

[1] David Leonhardt As Africa prospers, will diets improve? (New Telegraph, 16 February 2015)

[2] Suzanne Goldenberg Lester Brown: ‘Vast dust bowls threaten tens of millions with hunger’ (The Guardian, 25 February 2015)

Read the full article: allAfrica


Photo credit: Nature World News

Pictured: A conceptual image of dust from the Saharan Desert crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the Amazon rainforest in South America. (Photo : Conceptual Image Lab, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

How Saharan Dust Fertilizes Amazon Rainforest

By Jenna Iacurci

You would think that the Saharan Desert and Amazon rainforest are worlds apart. The African Sahara is a vast expanse of hot sand and arid air, while the Amazon is miles of lush, humid jungle covering northeast South America. But despite their stark contrasts, they are intimately connected. New research shows that each year, millions of tons of nutrient-rich Saharan dust crosses the Atlantic Ocean and fertilizes the Amazon rainforest.

This trans-Atlantic journey, described in the journalGeophysical Research Letters, provides insight into the role dust plays in the environment and its effects on local and global climate.

“We know that dust is very important in many ways. It is an essential component of Earth system. Dust will affect climate and, at the same time, climate change will affect dust,” study lead author Hongbin Yu said in a press release.

Read the full article: Nature World News

Sand storms in Korea

Photo credit: AsiaOne

The worst winter seasonal yellow dust in five years blanketed the Korean Peninsula, prompting the authorities to issue health warnings against the sandy, chemical-laden wind from China, according to domestic media.(AFP)

Yellow dust worsens in Korea

The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

Yellow dust swept into Korea on Sunday carrying with it fine dust particles that contain various pollutants, including carcinogens.

Although the yellow dust phenomenon occurs primarily in the spring, the country was hit on Monday by what the Korea Meteorological Administration said was the worst winter yellow dust in five years, resulting in the issuing of the sixth yellow dust warning since 2002.

On Monday morning, the KMA issued a yellow dust warning for Seoul which was subsequently lowered to an advisory in the late afternoon.

A yellow dust advisory is issued when an average concentration of more than 400 micrograms per cubic meter of PM10 particulates is expected to last more than two hours.

A warning is issued when a PM10 concentration of more than 800 micrograms per cubic meter is predicted.

PM10 refers to very fine airborne particles that are 10 micrometers or less in diameter ― less than one-seventh the diameter of a hair strand.

While children, the elderly and the infirm were advised to stay indoors, most Seoulites went about as normal, hoping that the mask that they were wearing would offer some protection.

However, regular cotton masks are ineffective against dust particles measuring 10 micrometers or less.

These particles are so fine that when inhaled, they can lodge in the lungs. Doctors have reported a sudden spike in the number of patients coming in with respiratory problems since Monday, attributable to the yellow dust that blanketed Seoul.

It seems there is no escaping the yellow dust plague.

Yellow dust originates in the deserts of southern Mongolia and northern China.

Read the full article: AsiaOne

Desertification by mining and agriculture

Photo credit: Pixabay

Camels on the Mongolian steppe

The threat of desertification: The Mongolian Plateau dry out

by Panteres


Dust storms are piling up, lakes are smaller: researchers warn against dehydration of the Mongolian plateau – the region is eight times the size of Germany. Cause were mining and agriculture.

A huge plateau in Central Asia threatens to dry up. The lakes of the Mongolian plateau that extends across Mongolia and Inner Mongolia belonging to China, according to a study disappearing at an accelerating pace. Blame are mainly mining and agriculture, remind Chinese researchers in the’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’. They warn of catastrophic consequences.

The researchers found that the reasons for the devastation – climate change is not among them. In the sparsely populated Mongolia, the number of lakes waned since the eighties by almost 18 percent, in Inner Mongolia, with about ten times higher population density, contrast, almost twice as much – 34 percent

Key factors are. irrigation for agriculture, which lowers the water table, and especially the mining industry. Under the region dormant mineral resources such as coal, oil, copper or gold. Due to the increasing demand for food and natural resources, the researchers expect a gain of the observed trends in the coming decades.

‘ More effective action is urgently needed to save these precious lakes’, they emphasize.’ Otherwise, the damage caused by the loss lakes for nature, the nomadic culture and civilization on the plateau catastrophic.’ Avoiding such devastating consequences is a major challenge for the wisdom of politicians include the Chinese scientists.

Read the full article: Panteres


Reforestation and sand storms (Google / /CNTV)

Read at : Google Alerts – desertification

Reforestation efforts beat back the desert near Beijing

CNTV Web Editor: Li Yan

Tuesday marks the UN’s World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. China has been at the forefront of this battle, as it looks to reverse desertification across the country, and reduce sandy and dusty weather from affecting large cities.

According to China’s state forestry administration, measurable progress has been made. For only the second time in 14 years, Beijing was free of sandstorms this spring thanks to a campaign that reduced sandy-dusty weather in the capital and neighbouring Tianjin.

The first phase of the project lasted from 2000 to 2012, as the government planted some 7.5 million hectares of trees. The second phase of the reforestation project is still underway.

Authorities say, in the coming few years, more campaigns will be launched in China’s Northwest regions, which contain 57 percent of the country’s deserts.