Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

African dust affects India's rainfall

  • Written by  Harley Rustad
  • Published in Climate
African dust affects India's rainfall Shutterstock
01 May
2014
New study published in Nature Geoscience establishes link between atmospheric dust and strength of monsoon rains falling on Indian subcontinent

A team of researchers used computer modelling to examine the impact that aerosols – in the form of pollution, sea salt and dust – has on global rainfall. The scientists wanted to get to the bottom of an observed positive correlation between aerosols over North Africa, West Asia and the Arabian Sea, and rainfall over India.

After running simulations with and without the various aerosol types, the team concluded that the rise of dust in North Africa and the Arabian peninsula had the greatest impact. They suggested that the dust absorbs warmth from sunlight, drawing moist air from the tropics and increasing the intensity of the prevailing winds that transport moisture from the Arabian Sea into India, where it falls as rain.

‘The difference between a monsoon flood year or a dry year is about ten per cent of the average summer rainfall in central India. Variations driven by dust may be strong enough to explain some of that year-to-year variation,’ said one of the study’s authors, Phil Rasch of the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 

This story was published in the May 2014 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

Subscribe and Save!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Geophoto

Flat and level landscapes might not have much to offer…

Geophoto

Winning entries include meerkats, zebra sharks and courting nudibranches

Oceans

The UN’s World Ocean Day is a day to celebrate…

Nature

Breathe easier this World Environment day with this collection of…

Climate

A 50-year look at the activity of aphids, moths, butterflies…

Geophoto

The British Isles are packed with natural landmarks that serve…

Geophoto

The prestigious photography awards to go on display in some…

Tectonics

The discovery of a slow-motion earthquake near Istanbul, which took…

Oceans

The 2014 to 2016 marine heatwave, which took place off…

Climate

Marco Magrini discovers that hydrogen is back, but hopefully not…

Wildlife

 A ten-year analysis of chimpanzees has revealed that the presence…

Wildlife

The return of the pine marten to UK forests has…

Energy

A project in Orkney is converting excess wind energy into…

Geophoto

Mountains provide a dramatic sight at the best of times,…

Wildlife

A surge in reports of dead hares has resulted in…

Oceans

Four scientists have banded together to make the case against the farming of octopuses, arguing…

Climate

As planetary oil consumption hits the 100-million-barrel mark Marco Magrini…

Oceans

A ship that ran aground early in February has been…

Wildlife

Two whale populations on either side of the African continent…

Geophoto

March traditionally heralds the beginning of spring, a time of…