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Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus (2005) 5: 159174 

C Springer 2005

DUSTSTORMS AND MESOSCALE CLOUD SYSTEMS OVER


THE EAST ASIAN DESERTS IN SPRING

TETSUYA TAKEMI1, and NAOKO SEINO2


1
Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology,
Nagatsuta, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan; 2 Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba,
Ibaraki 305-0052, Japan
( author for correspondence, e-mail: takemi@depe.titech.ac.jp; Tel: +81 45 924 5558,
Fax: +81 45 924 5516)

Abstract. Meteorological characteristics and morphology of duststorms and other dust weather phe-
nomena in the arid regions of East Asia were described in order to investigate a possible role of
mesoscale cloud disturbances that develop in synoptic-scale mid-latitude cyclones in intensifying
dust weather. This study is a statistical examination of conventional surface observational data as
well as satellite data obtained during April 20002003. In the deserts of Mongolia and northern
China (e.g., the Gobi Desert) duststorms and other weaker dust weather (i.e., dust whirls, blowing
dust) frequently occur under a strong influence of synoptic-scale cyclones; on the other hand in the
Taklamakan Desert (northwestern China), dust weather phenomena occur in a less organized fashion
and may be driven mainly by local meteorological and geographical effects. A significant signal was
identified, revealing of the intensification of dust weather by the presence of convective cloud distur-
bances. Meteorological changes such as pressure rise and temperature drop, typically found during the
passage of cold fronts, were frequently observed in the cases of duststorms occurring in the analysis
region. However, no definite tendency was found for moisture change and wind speed in relation to
cloud activity, probably because rainfall amount is generally too low to moisten the boundary-layer
air.

Keywords: duststorm, dust, convective storm, Gobi, Taklamakan

1. Introduction

Duststorms are one of the significant phenomena in desert regions, sometimes


causing severe local disasters that affect not only human lives and infrastructure but
also agricultural industries. In addition, a large amount of dust particles transported
in the free troposphere, which is classified as dust haze, blowing dust, or yellow sand
phenomena, could affect regional weather and climate. These dust events caused by
aeolian processes have recently been an important research issue for their possible
climate impact (Goudie and Middleton, 1992; Qian and Zhu, 2001; Kurosaki and
Mikami, 2003).
In the arid regions of continental East Asia (e.g., the Taklamakan and the Gobi
Deserts), duststorms frequently occur in spring (Littmann, 1991; Parungo et al.,
1994). These spring duststorms are a major source for dust transport in the atmo-
sphere, and are a major cause of the development of yellow sand phenomena that
160 T. TAKEMI AND N. SEINO

prevail in East Asia in that season. The high frequency of duststorms in spring can
be related to mid-latitude synoptic-scale cyclone activities. Qian et al. (2002) exam-
ined the 50-year annual-mean weather data obtained over China and indicated that
in northern China the cyclones over Mongolia are a major dynamical condition for
dust weather outbreaks. Takemi and Seino (2005), on the other hand investigated
the relationship between duststorm development and synoptic-scale cyclone from
a statistical point of view.
In contrast, little attention has been paid to mesoscale characteristics of dis-
turbances that spawn duststorms. Mesoscale convective cloud systems, in gen-
eral, produce various types of severe weather, such as damaging winds and gusts,
heavy rainfall/snowfall, hail, and lightning in various regions of the world. It is
well known that mesoscale convective systems in some instances play a major
role in producing duststorms through a number of case studies of severe dust-
storm events. Takemi (1999), using mesoscale observational data, showed that the
historically severe, 5 May 1993 duststorm over the Gobi Desert was caused by
a strong cold surface outflow that occurred in a mesoscale cloud system, i.e., a
pre-frontal squall line, and concluded that a dry condition is favorable for the in-
tensification of the cold outflow, and hence also the duststorm, due to the cooling
mechanism of precipitation evaporation that occurs within convective downdraft
in the mesoscale cloud system. Takemi and Satomura (2000) confirmed the con-
clusion of Takemi (1999) by performing numerical simulations of the squall line
associated with a strong cold outflow. Considering that the spring climate in the
arid regions of East Asia is significantly dry (Warner, 2004) and synoptic-scale
cyclones frequently pass through the regions (Chen et al., 1991), the mechanism
for the storm intensification by mesoscale convective systems would be important
in diagnosing and modeling dust weather events. Although previous case studies
were concerned with extremely severe duststorms from the viewpoint of disas-
ter research, there are few studies that explicitly examine the role of mesoscale
convective systems on the development of duststorms, no matter how strong or
weak they are, from a climatological point of view. The climatological aspect
of duststorms is a key to understand the long-range transport of dust over East
Asia.
In this study we investigate the characteristics and morphology of duststorms
and related dust phenomena occurring during the episodes of mid-latitude cyclones
over the arid regions of continental East Asia, focusing specifically on the rela-
tionship between duststorms and convective cloud activities. We adopt a statistical
approach here by using conventional surface meteorological observations, satellite
brightness temperature data, and weather maps in April during the recent four years
(20002003). Section 2 describes the data used in our analyses and the dust weather
definitions. In Section 3, the characteristics of dust weather are described by ex-
amining cloud activity and surface meteorological changes. Section 4 discusses
the role of mesoscale convective cloud systems in intensifying duststorms, and a
summary of the present study is given.
DUSTSTORMS AND MESOSCALE CLOUD SYSTEMS 161

2. Data and Duststorm Definitions

2.1. DATA

In order to capture the meteorological characteristics of duststorms, three-hourly


data obtained by conventional surface meteorological observations (SYNOP re-
ports in the observation categories of World Meteorological Organization (WMO))
at manned weather stations in East Asia in April during 20002003 are used here.
Weather reports in this category of data are used to identify duststorms and related
dust phenomena. According to Kurosaki and Mikami (2003), the month of April
during the three years 20002002 was characterized by more frequent dust-emitting
events than in the previous ten years 19932002. The analysis area extends from
northern China to Mongolia (35 50 N, 75 130 E, excluding the Korean Penin-
sula). Figure 1 shows the locations of the surface observation stations used in this
study.
In addition to the surface data, hourly brightness-temperature data TBB in the
infrared window of 10.512.5 m, obtained by the Japanese Geostationary Me-
teorological Satellite (GMS), are used for the purpose of identifying cyclone and
mesoscale cloud activities and demonstrate the link between surface meteorolog-
ical changes and mesoscale convective cloud systems. The satellite GMS has two
observation channels in the infrared window (10.511.5 m and 11.512.5 m, so
called split window), the data from which can be used to diagnose a cloud type.
In order to focus on deep clouds, this study excludes cirrus-type thin clouds by
choosing data whose temperature differences between the split-window measure-
ments are less than 2.5 K (Inoue, 1987). This eliminates high-level thin clouds, and
thus cold temperatures are basically regarded as deep, convective clouds. The GMS
data used here have a temperature resolution of 0.1 K and a spatial resolution of

Figure 1. Locations of the surface meteorological observations used in the present study, which are
marked by points. Light shading indicates the elevations of 20003000 m and darker shading the
elevations of higher than 3000 m.
162 T. TAKEMI AND N. SEINO

0.25 by interpolating the original GMS data on a regular latitude-longitude grid.


Weather maps issued by Japan Meteorological Agency are referred to identify the
synoptic-scale meteorological fields.

2.2. DUSTSTORM DEFINITIONS

In defining duststorms and related dust weather events caused by aeolian pro-
cesses (i.e., duststorm, dust haze, blowing dust, and dust devil/dust whirl), Goudie
and Middleton (1992) referred to visibility that may be directly linked to the
amount of dust emission in the air. Unfortunately, the data set used here does
not include specific observations of visibility at all the weather stations. Hence,
present-weather reports based on the WMO weather codes (denoted ww here) at
the manned surface stations are used in order to identify the duststorms and related
dust events. Kurosaki and Mikami (2003) also used the present-weather reports in
their analysis of the recent temporal variability of dust events in East Asia, and
were successful in describing the relationship between dust event frequency and
wind speed. We thus believe that the weather reports, even though they are some-
what subjective, are useful in the analyses of duststorms and related dust weather
phenomena.
Weather reports related to duststorms and dust weather phenomena in the WMO
code are categorized as follows:

1. Severe duststorm or sandstorm, coded ww = 3335,


2. Slight or moderate duststorm or sandstorm, coded ww = 3032,
3. Duststorm or sandstorm within sight, coded ww = 09,
4. Thunderstorm combined with duststorms or sandstorms, coded ww = 98,
5. well-developed dust whirl or sand whirl, coded ww = 08,
6. dust or sand raised by wind, but no well-developed dust whirl or sand whirl,
coded ww = 07.

The primary difference between severe and moderate/slight duststorms lies in the
visibility being less or greater than 500 m. Detailed descriptions of these observation
codes can be found in the WMO manual (WMO, 1995). In this study, the above
six categories are classified as follows: (1) severe duststorms, which consists of
the first item of the above list; (2) moderate duststorms, which consists of second,
third, and fourth items; (3) other dust events, which consists of fifth and sixth
items. We refer to both severe and moderate duststorm simply as duststorm, and
following Qian et al. (2002) all the three classifications are referred to as dust
weather.
This classification is used to describe the meteorological characteristics of dust-
storms and other dust events in association with wind speeds and cloud activities,
to which the previous studies have not paid much attention.
DUSTSTORMS AND MESOSCALE CLOUD SYSTEMS 163

Figure 2. Locations of observation stations that observed severe duststorms (indicated by circles),
moderate duststorms (crosses), and other dust events (dots) in the month of April in (a) 2000, (b)
2001, (c) 2002, and (d) 2003.

3. Dust Weather Analysis

3.1. DUST WEATHER AND WIND FIELDS

Figure 2 shows the locations of the weather stations that observed severe duststorms,
moderate duststorms, and other dust events in April during 20002003.The occur-
rence of duststorms is basically limited to the arid regions of Mongolia and northern
and northwestern China, while the other dust events are relatively widespread over
the area. In 2001 and 2002 duststorm occurrence extends into northeastern China,
which might be tied to the tracks of mid-latitude cyclones.
The spatial features of the percentage frequencies of duststorms and other dust
events in April during 20002003 are summarized in Figure 3. The numbers shown
in this figure were calculated as the percentage rates of duststorm and other event
occurrences among all the observations in a 5 by 5 area in East Asia through the
entire period. Duststorms, including moderate and severe ones, are most frequent
in the areas, 100115 E and 4050 N, which correspond to the region of the Gobi
Desert. As compared to these high frequencies over the Gobi region, duststorm oc-
currence in the Taklamakan Desert (the 7590 E and 3540 N region) is relatively
in frequent. A remarkable feature in the Taklamakan area found in Figure 3 is the
high frequency of other dust event occurrences, which is significantly higher than
those in the Gobi area. In Figure 2 some weather stations in northeastern China are
seen to have observed duststorms in 2001 and 2002, but the frequencies there are
much lower than those in the Gobi Desert areas.
As shown by Kurosaki and Mikami (2003), the occurrence of duststorms and
other dust events is strongly correlated with wind speed in the arid regions of East
164 T. TAKEMI AND N. SEINO

Figure 3. Percentage frequencies of dust weather in 5 by 5 grid area in April 20002003. Each
figure in each grid area indicates the percentages for severe duststorms (upper figure in grid area),
duststorms (including moderate and severe duststorms, middle), and other dust events (lower).

Figure 4. Wind field averaged over the periods of April 20002003 at each observation station for
the cases of (a) duststorms and (b) other dust events. Light shading indicates the elevations of higher
than 2000 m.

Asia. Figure 4 shows the average wind fields at the times of the observations of
duststorms and other dust events in April during 20002003. The mean winds in
the case of duststorms (Figure 4a) are generally northwesterly in Mongolia and
northern China and westerly-to-southwesterly in the northeastern part of China. In
DUSTSTORMS AND MESOSCALE CLOUD SYSTEMS 165

contrast, the winds in the Taklamakan area seem to be less organized: in the eastern
part the winds have an easterly component; in the western part the winds have a
westerly component; and in the northern part the winds have a northerly component.
These features found in Figure 4a can also be seen in the case of other dust events
(Figure 4b), although the wind speeds in this case are weaker than those in the
duststorm case. The wind fields in the Gobi area can be under the strong influence
of synoptic-scale cyclone systems as will be described in the next subsection, while
in the Taklamakan Desert the effects of steep mountains surrounding the region
on the local atmospheric circulation seem to be so significant that the mean winds
have a local feature.
One of the critical issues in duststorms, particularly dust emission in the air, is a
threshold velocity for dust or sand uplift from the ground, and many scientists, such
as Tegen and Fung (1994), are concerned with a specific threshold value of wind
speed for dust emission in the air from the viewpoint of numerical modeling of dust
transport. In order to demonstrate the characteristics of wind speed in the cases of
duststorms and other dust events in each region of the Gobi and the Taklamakan
Desert, the relationship between dust weather frequency and surface wind speed
is examined here. The average wind speeds at the times of dust weather in each
desert were calculated, and the accumulated frequencies of duststorms and other
dust events in relation to the average wind speeds are shown in Figure 5. In this
figure, the weather stations in the Gobi Desert are chosen in the area of 3850 N
and 95115 E, with elevations of less than 2000 m (this elevation threshold is
intended to eliminate stations in mountainous terrains), and the weather stations
in the Taklamakan Desert are defined as the 11 observation stations found in the
Taklamakan area (or the Tarim Basin) in Figure 1 in addition to the Dunhuang

Figure 5. Accumulated frequencies of duststorms and other dust events versus average wind speeds
(with 1 ms1 interval) in the areas of the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts in April 20002003.
166 T. TAKEMI AND N. SEINO

station (40.15 N, 94.68 E). Correlation coefficients between duststorm (other dust
event) occurrence and wind speed are calculated as 0.67 (0.68) for the Gobi case,
and 0.15 (0.64) for the Taklamakan case. It can be seen that the dust weather in
the Gobi area is caused by stronger winds than those in the Taklamakan area; this
feature can also be found in Figure 4, which would suggest that the threshold wind
speed is lower in the Taklamakan area than in the Gobi area, and also that the winds
in Taklamakan are basically lower than those in Gobi.
It is noted that the correlation between duststorm outbreak and wind speed in
the Taklamakan area is quite low; this low statistic may result from a much lower
frequency of duststorm occurrence in the Taklamakan area than in the Gobi Desert.
However, considering that there are, in general, a couple of land surface parameters,
apart from wind speed, which are anticipated to control duststorm outbreak, such
as snow cover, soil wetness, vegetation, and soil size distribution (Kurosaki and
Mikami, 2004), the low correlation may imply that other factors in addition to high
winds play a role in spawning duststorms in the Taklamakan Desert. The issue of
dust emission from the Taklamakan, the Gobi, and other deserts in China is currently
under investigation through the intensive observations in the Sino-Japanese joint
research program Asian Dust Experiment on Climate Impact (ADEC, 20002005),
and will be elucidated in the near future.

3.2. D UST WEATHER AND CLOUD ACTIVITY

Cloud activity is diagnosed here using the GMS data. Figure 6 shows a time-
longitude diagram of the GMS brightness temperatures that are averaged in the
latitudinal band of 4050 N (from Mongolia to northern China), since this band
was a major area of the mid-latitude cyclone paths identified from the weather maps.
It can clearly be seen in this figure that there is an eastward propagation of cloud
systems that developed in association with mid-latitude cyclones in all four years.
In phase with the passages of the cloud systems, dust weathers occur over the area
of the Gobi Desert (defined in the same way as shown in Figure 5), which is shown
in Figure 7 as time series of the dust weather occurrence in April 20002003. As
an example, seven major duststorm spells are identified on days: 23; 56; 79; 12;
1719; 2224; and 2729 in April 2000 (Figure 7a), and these spells correspond to
the cyclone passages found in Figure 6a.
The relationship between dust weather occurrence and deep cloud activity is
examined with the use of GMS temperature values at the corresponding times of
dust weather observations. As mentioned in Section 2.1, the brightness temperatures
with split-window differences less than 2.5 K are selected in order to exclude the
effects of cirrus-type thin clouds. We choose brightness temperature data in the
area of 4 by 4 points that surround the observation location at which a duststorm or
another dust event was reported, and also, for comparison, at which no dust weather
was reported. In Figure 4, the feature of the wind field seems to be different (i.e.,
under a strong influence of synoptic-scale westerly flow or not) in areas to the
DUSTSTORMS AND MESOSCALE CLOUD SYSTEMS 167

Figure 6. Time-longitude section of GMS brightness temperature (K) in April of (a) 2000, (b) 2001,
(c) 2002, and (d) 2003. The temperatures are averaged in the latitudinal band of 4050 N. Shading
legend is given in the lower right of the each panel.

east and the west of the the 95 E longitude; thus the frequency distribution was
calculated separately in two regions by dividing the whole analysis region into
eastern and western parts at the 95 E longitude in order to demonstrate a difference
of dust weather characteristics between the two regions. The 95 E longitude can
be regarded as a boundary between the Gobi and the Taklamakan areas. The TBB
distributions were calculated in each 5 K bin.
Figure 8 shows the percentage-frequency distributions of brightness tempera-
ture at the times of dust weather observations as well as no-dust observations in
the regions to the east and the west of the 95 E longitude. In the eastern region,
the temperature at which a maximum frequency is found becomes lower as dust
weather is more intense, and generally, the distribution seems to be shifted to colder
temperatures in severer dust weather. In the case of severe duststorm there is a weak
but clear secondary peak; this colder peak is considered to be related to deep convec-
tive clouds, since the effects of cirrus-type clouds are minimized in this analysis. In
168 T. TAKEMI AND N. SEINO

Figure 7. Time series of the frequencies of duststorms, severe duststorms, and the other dust events
over the Gobi Desert in April of (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002, and (d) 2003.

Figure 8. Frequency (in percentage) distribution of severe duststorms, moderate duststorms, and other
dust events as a function of brightness temperature whose split-window difference is less than 2.5 K
in the regions (a) to the east of the 95 E longitude, and (b) to the west of the 95 E longitude in April
20002003. For comparison, the brightness temperature distribution at the locations where no dust
was observed is also depicted.

contrast, in the western region no clear peak is found for all the dust weather cases;
however, it can still be seen that there is a clear tendency of colder temperatures
in a stronger dust weather case. Both in the eastern and in the western area, the
frequency distribution in the cases of no-dust observations, which can be regarded
DUSTSTORMS AND MESOSCALE CLOUD SYSTEMS 169

TABLE I
Percentage rates of frequencies of surface meteorological changes for duststorm and
other event cases in two regions. p > 0 indicates pressure increase, T < 0
temperature decrease, R H > 0 relative humidity increase, and V Vc winds
higher than Vc (see text for the specific values)

Frequency p > 0 T < 0 R H > 0 V Vc

Region to the east of 95 E longitude


Duststorm (%) 67.3 64.4 49.3 59.1
Other event (%) 59.3 59.1 50.2 53.0
Region to the west of 95 E longitude
Duststorm (%) 79.3 74.3 54.2 81.4
Otherevent (%) 58.1 52.6 50.0 76.8

as a background feature for dust weather, tends to shift to higher temperatures than
in the dust weather cases. The analysis shown in Figure 8 thus suggests that deep
cloud activity has an effect on the intensification of dust weather.
Surface meteorological changes at the times of dust weather observations are
examined by associaton with cloud activity. First, surface meteorological changes
in dust weather are summarized in Table I, which shows the percentage rates of
the frequencies of surface meteorological changes (pressure increase, temperature
drop, water vapor mixing ratio increase, and strong wind) at the times of dust
weather in the regions to the east and west of the 95 E longitude during the whole
time period. These changes are defined as the difference between the observation at
the time of dust weather occurrence and the previous time (three hour earlier). The
values of wind speed threshold Vc are chosen as 12 (9) ms1 in the duststorm (other
dust event) case in the eastern region, and 9(7) ms1 in the duststorm (other dust
event) case in the western region, which are determined from the value at which
the accumulated frequency in each case becomes over 50% (see Figure 5, although
the area definition is not exactly the same). The frequencies of pressure increase
and temperature drops in the cases of duststorms are remarkably higher than those
in the cases of other dust events; these meteorological changes are characteristic of
the passages of cold fronts.
However, moistening (R H > 0) shown in Table I is less frequent in all cases
than pressure increase and temperature drop. This seems to be a rather unexpected
result, since in arid regions of the world a significant moistening as well as pressure
increase and temperature drop is often observed in the cases of thunderstorms or
squall lines associated with duststorms or sandstorms. For example, in the analysis
of the 5 May 1993 severe duststorm by Takemi (1999) a significant moistening
was observed owing to the evaporation of precipitation that emanated from a squall
line. The reason why moistening is less frequent in the present analysis would
probably be because convective clouds do not always produce enough precipitation
to moisten the boundary-layer air; the analysis of precipitation data in the present
170 T. TAKEMI AND N. SEINO

Figure 9. Frequencies of surface meteorological changes as a function of GMS brightness temper-


atures at the times of (a) duststorms and (b) other dust events in the region to the east of the 95 E
line during the whole period. Percentage rates of frequencies of positive pressure change, negative
temperature change, positive relative humidity change, and high wind speed are given.

cases shows that 3.7% of all duststorm cases observed precipitation (average amount
was 0.41 mm), and only 2.3% of all cases of other dust events observed precipitation
(average was 0.25 mm).
Figures 9 and 10 show the relationships between the surface meteorological
changes in dust weather and the brightness temperatures with diagrams of fre-
quency (in percentage) distributions of the surface changes at the sites that ob-
served duststorms and other dust events as a function of brightness temperatures
in the eastern and western regions, defined in the same way as in Figure 8, during
the whole analysis period. For both duststorm and other dust event cases, there is
DUSTSTORMS AND MESOSCALE CLOUD SYSTEMS 171

Figure 10. As Figure 9 except for the region to the west of the 95 E line.

a clear tendency of higher frequency of pressure increase and temperature drop


as brightness temperature becomes lower in the both eastern and western regions.
Thus, dust weather occuring in the region of cold brightness temperatures (which
indicate the activity of deep clouds) is primarily caused by frontal passages. In
addition, a slight tendency of moistening is found with the presence of deep clouds,
which is not clear in Table I. However, no definite feature can be found for the the
strong wind in relation to the brightness temperature.
In Figure 11, the relationship between brightness temperature and wind speed is
further examined in the cases of severe duststorm, moderate duststorm, and other
dust event by demonstrating brightness temperature variabilities with wind speed.
Similar to what is shown in Figures 9 and 10, there is no clear correlation between
brightness temperature and wind speed in each dust weather case. However, it is
seen that brightness temperature is generally lower as dust weather becomes more
172 T. TAKEMI AND N. SEINO

Figure 11. Averages with error bars of brightness temperatures in relation to wind speed at the time
of dust weather observations averaged over the whole analysis area in April 20002003. The case of
(a) severe duststorm, (b) moderate duststorm, and (c) other dust event.

intense in the whole range of wind speeds; this suggests that there is a possible link
between deep cloud activity and the intensification of dust weather.

4. Discussion and Concluding Remarks

From the analyses of the wind fields in the cases of dust weather observations
(Figure 4), it is found that the regions in Mongolia and northern and northeastern
China, which includes the Gobi Desert, are significantly affected by synoptic-scale
mid-latitude cyclones, while the Taklamakan Desert, located in the northwestern
part of China, is less affected by large-scale circulations but is under the influence
of locally induced circulation. The wind fields in the Mongolia and northern China
area are generally northwesterly-to-westerly, while those in the Taklamakan Desert
are less organized and differ from location to location.
Examining the surface meteorological changes (Table I) shows that throughout
the analysis region weaker dust events (i.e., dust whirl, blowing dust) are gen-
erally less affected by the passages of cold fronts that developed in mid-latitude
DUSTSTORMS AND MESOSCALE CLOUD SYSTEMS 173

cyclone systems than duststorms. Considering that in the Taklamakan area weaker
dust events are more frequent than duststorms, this is the reason why the wind
fields in that area appear to be less organized. The Taklamakan wind fields in
the cases of duststorms, which seemingly have local characteristics, however, are
not completely free of the influence of cold fronts, since the surface changes in
those cases clearly show the characteristics of cold front passages. Meteorological
changes typically found in cold front passages were also observed in the cases of
the duststorms in Mongolia and northern and northeastern China. Thus, it can be
said that vigorous duststorms mainly result from cold front passages, while weaker
dust events are induced not only by synoptic-scale forcings such as cold fronts but
also by some other factors such as local circulations, especially in the Taklamakan
Desert, probably due to steep terrains surrounding the desert.
The analysis of the relationship between the cloud activity and dust weather
demonstrates that a significant signal of dust weather intensification by cloud dis-
turbances can be identified. In our analysis of the satellite brightness data, the
effects of thin clouds have been eliminated, and therefore it can be stated that deep
convective cloud processes, such as downdraft and gusty wind, play a major role
in intensifying dust weather. However, it is found that moistening at the times of
dust weather is not a common meteorological change, since basically the rainfall
amount is significantly low.
In the cases of most vigorous duststorms, such as the 5 May 1993 duststorm
over the Gobi Desert, significant moistening was found after the passage of the
gust front of the duststorm (Takemi, 1999). In the present dataset, there are some
cases that shows significant humidity increase associated with rapid pressure rise
and temperature drops. Therefore, once much precipitation is produced in a cloud
system that spawns a duststorm or sandstorm, the storm would be intensified by
the cooling mechanism of rain evaporation.
The present study has described the meteorological characteristics of duststorms
and related dust phenomena with the use of conventional meteorological observa-
tions at manned weather stations as well as satellite data. The characteristic features
of the weather changes in the cases of dust weather are demonstrated from the sta-
tistical analysis of the data in April during the past four years. The analyses here
relied on the visual observations of dust weather, and thus might have some uncer-
tainties in quantitative description of dust weather. Definite and quantitative data
of visibilities over a wide range of the region would be required for the estimation
of dust emission amount in East Asia.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Dr. Y. Kurosaki of Meteorological Research Institute (MRI)


for providing meteorological data originally archived at MRI and his useful com-
ments on this research. The GMS data were provided by Disaster Prevention
174 T. TAKEMI AND N. SEINO

Research Institute, Kyoto University (data of April 2000), and Weather Home,
Kochi University (data of April 20012003). This research was supported by the
Special Coordination Fund for Promoting Science and Technology from the Min-
istry of Education of Japan.

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