This study shows that by stabilizing the soil, biological soil crusts reduce global atmospheric dust emissions by 60%, corresponding to ~700 Tg of dust per year. According to models of biocrust cover loss, this effect will be reduced in the future, leading to increases in not only dust emissions but also global radiative cooling.
This is a preview of subscription content
Subscription info for Chinese customers
We have a dedicated website for our Chinese customers. Please go to naturechina.com to subscribe to this journal.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Penner, J. E. Soot, sulfate, dust and the climate - three ways through the fog. Nature 570, 158–159 (2019). A comment article that analysed aerosol–climate interactions.
Rodriguez-Caballero, E. et al. Dryland photoautotrophic soil surface communities endangered by global change. Nat. Geosci. 11, 185–189 (2018). This paper developed a global map of the current and future distributions of biocrusts.
Stanelle, T., Bey, I., Raddatz, T., Reick, C. & Tegen, I. Anthropogenically induced changes in twentieth century mineral dust burden and the associated impact on radiative forcing. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 119, 13526–13546 (2014). This paper presents the dust model used in our current study.
Ferrenberg, S., Reed, S. C. & Belnap, J. Climate change and physical disturbance cause similar community shifts in biological soil crusts. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 112, 12116–12121 (2015). An experimental study that analysed the response of biocrust communities to climate change and disturbance.
Mirzabaev, A. et al. in Special Report on Climate Change and Land (eds Shukla, P. R. et al.) Ch. 3 (IPCC, 2019). An IPCC report on the effects of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems and the ecosystem services supplied by them.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
This is a summary of: Rodriguez-Caballero, E. et al. Global cycling and climate effects of aeolian dust controlled by biological soil crusts. Nat. Geosci. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-022-00942-1 (2022).
About this article
Cite this article
Biological soil crusts play a key role in current and future global dust cycling. Nat. Geosci. 15, 432–433 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-022-00943-0