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High Latitude Dust in the Earth SystemNatural dust is often associated with hot, subtropical deserts, but significant dust events have been reported from cold, high latitudes. This review synthesizes current understanding of high-latitude (> or = 50degN and > or = 40degS) dust source geography and dynamics and provides a prospectus for future research on the topic. Although the fundamental processes controlling aeolian dust emissions in high latitudes are essentially the same as in temperate regions, there are additional processes specific to or enhanced in cold regions. These include low temperatures, humidity, strong winds, permafrost and niveo-aeolian processes all of which can affect the efficiency of dust emission and distribution of sediments. Dust deposition at high latitudes can provide nutrients to the marine system, specifically by contributing iron to high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll oceans; it also affects ice albedo and melt rates. There have been no attempts to quantify systematically the expanse, characteristics, or dynamics of high-latitude dust sources. To address this, we identify and compare the main sources and drivers of dust emissions in the Northern (Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Iceland) and Southern (Antarctica, New Zealand, and Patagonia) Hemispheres. The scarcity of year-round observations and limitations of satellite remote sensing data at high latitudes are discussed. It is estimated that under contemporary conditions high-latitude sources cover >500,000 sq km and contribute at least 80-100 Tg/yr1 of dust to the Earth system (approx. 5% of the global dust budget); both are projected to increase under future climate change scenarios.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Bullard, Joanna E.
(Loughborough Univ. Leicesterschire, United Kingdom)
Baddock, Matthew
(Loughborough Univ. Leicesterschire, United Kingdom)
Bradwell, Tom
(Stirling Univ. United Kingdom)
Crusius, John
(Washington Univ. Seattle, WA, United States)
Darlington, Eleanor
(Loughborough Univ. Leicesterschire, United Kingdom)
Gaiero, Diego
(Universidad Nacional de Cordoba Argentina)
Gasso, Santiago
(Morgan State Univ. Baltimore, MD, United States)
Gisladottir, Gudrun
(Iceland Univ. Reykjavik, Iceland)
Hodgkins, Richard
(Loughborough Univ. Leicesterschire, United Kingdom)
McCulloch, Robert
(Stirling Univ. United Kingdom)
McKenna-Neuman, Cheryl
(Trent Univ. Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)
Mockford, Tom
(Loughborough Univ. Leicesterschire, United Kingdom)
Stewart, Helena
(Stirling Univ. United Kingdom)
Thorsteinsson, Throstur
(Iceland Univ. Reykjavik, Iceland)
Date Acquired
August 30, 2016
Publication Date
June 4, 2016
Publication Information
Publication: Review of Geophysics
Publisher: Wiley
Volume: 54
Issue: 2
e-ISSN: 1944-9208
Subject Category
Earth Resources And Remote Sensing
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
remote sensing
High Latitude Dust

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