Dust storms in northern China during the last 500 years

Shuang Zhang, Hai Xu*, Jianghu Lan, Yonaton Goldsmith, Adi Torfstein, Guilin Zhang, Jin Zhang, Yunping Song, Kang’en Zhou, Liangcheng Tan, Sheng Xu, Xiaomei Xu, Yehouda Enzel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The history and mechanisms of dust storms in northern China remain unclear owing to the paucity of reliable long-term, high-resolution geological records. In this study, we reconstructed the dust storm history of the last ~500 years in northern China, based on sedimentary coarse fraction (>63 µm) of a well-dated core from Lake Daihai, Inner Mongolia. The high-resolution data reveal three intervals of frequent dust storms: AD 1520–1580, AD 1610–1720, and AD 1870–2000. The dust storm events in the Lake Daihai area were broadly synchronous with those inferred from other historical or geological records and generally occurred during cold intervals. Changes in the intensity of Siberian High and the westerlies modulated by temperature variations are the likely major factors controlling dust storm dynamics. An interesting feature is that although the intensities of dust storms have been systematically increased during the recent warming period, a clear decreasing trend within this period is evident. The recent increase in average dust storm intensity may be ascribed to an increase in particle supply resulting from a rapid increase in human activity, whereas the weakening trend was likely caused by decreases in average wind speed resulting from the recent global warming.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)813-824
Number of pages12
JournalScience China Earth Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Dust storm
  • Human activity
  • Lake Daihai
  • Temperature
  • Wind speed


Dive into the research topics of 'Dust storms in northern China during the last 500 years'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this