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  • 05 April, 2021

  • 7 Min Read

Impacts of Desert Dust Particles on Indian Summer Monsoon

Impacts of Desert Dust Particles on Indian Summer Monsoon

A new study shows the impacts of desert dust coming from the West, Central, and East Asia in the Indian Summer Monsoon.

Impact of Desert Dust Particles on Indian Summer Monsoon:

  • Strong winds carry the dust particles from the Middle East into the atmosphere.
  • Dust particles absorb solar radiation and become extremely hot.
  • This causes heating of the atmosphere. Heat decreases the air pressure and changes wind circulation patterns. Further, it increases the moisture transport capacity of air and increases precipitation and rainfall.
  • This phenomenon is termed an “elevated heat pump”. It is responsible for driving moisture from the sea to the Indian subcontinent.

Positive Feedback Loop:

  • Positive Feedback Loop is a loop where the result of a reaction leads to an enhancement of that very reaction.
  • In this case too, a positive feedback loop plays a role when the dust particles from the Middle East boost the power of Indian monsoons.
  • In turn, the monsoons increase the winds in the Middle East and subsequently produce more dust aerosols.

Role of Iranian Plateau on Indian Summer Monsoon:

  • Iranian Plateau also influences the Indian Summer Monsoon. The hot air over the Iranian Plateau can heat the atmosphere over the plateau.
  • It further strengthens the circulation over the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and increases dust emission from the West Asia.

Influence of Aerosols on Indian Summer Monsoon:

  • Aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in air or another gas. Aerosols can be natural or anthropogenic:
    • Examples of natural aerosols are fog, mist, dust, forest exudates, and geyser steam.
    • Examples of anthropogenic aerosols are particulate air pollutants and smoke.


A monsoon often brings about thoughts of torrential rains, similar to a hurricane or typhoon. But there is a difference: a monsoon is not a single storm; rather, it is a seasonal wind shift over a region.

    • The shift may cause heavy rains in the summer, but at other times, it may cause a dry spell.

Cause for Monsoon:

  • A monsoon arises due to a difference in temperatures between a land mass and the adjacent ocean.
  • The sun warms the land and ocean differently, causing the winds to play "tug of war" eventually switching directions bringing the cooler, moister air from over the ocean.
  • The winds reverse again at the end of the monsoon season.


  • A monsoon forms in the tropics (between 0 and 23.5 degrees latitude north and south) and subtropics (between 23.5 degrees and 35 degrees latitude north and south).
  • The strongest monsoons tend to occur in India and South Asia in the north and Australia and Malaysia in the south.
  • Monsoons also occur in southern parts of North America, in Central America, northern areas of South America, and in western Africa.

Monsoons also occur in southern parts of North America, in Central America

  • Some studies have found that anthropogenic aerosols, emitted from the Indian subcontinent, can decrease summer monsoon precipitation.
  • While other studies have found that absorbing aerosols such as dust can strengthen the monsoon circulation.
  • However, in this study, it was found that anthropogenic aerosols can strengthen Indian summer monsoon rainfall.

Influence of Dust Particles across the Globe: Dust Particles from deserts across the globe play important role in monsoons:

  • The dust aerosols from deserts in West China such as the Taklamakan Desert and the Gobi Desert can be transported eastward to eastern China and can influence the East Asia summer monsoon.
  • The small deserts in the southwest United States are known to influence the North African monsoon.

Source: TH

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