Large quantities of small particles are eroded by wind from soil surfaces in many parts of the world to generate sand and dust storms (SDS). These events are most common in deserts and semideserts because soils in these areas are typically dry and unconsolidated, with little or no vegetation cover; conditions that enable the erosion of surface sediment by wind. These atmospheric events have a wide variety of effects on the hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and cryosphere and they are important for ecosystem functioning. Hence, the dust cycle has been recognized as an integral part of Earth system science (Shao et al., 2011; Knippertz and Stuut, 2014).

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