The World Meteorological Organization(WMO)on Wednesday has issued its first annual Airborne Dust Bulletin, highlighting severe sand and dust storms occurred in Asian countries.
Giving an overview of atmospheric dust levels and geographical distribution in 2016, the report is part of efforts to improve observations and warnings of sand and dust storms, which pose serious risks to the environment, human health and economy in arid and semi-arid regions.
"Every year, an estimated 2,000 million tons of dust is emitted into the atmosphere. While much of this is a natural part of the Earth's cycles, a significant amount is generated by human-induced factors, especially unsustainable land and water management," said Enric Terradellas, chair of WMO's Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System steering committee.
"Dust is a major component of atmospheric aerosols, which affect the global climate and have important effects on weather through their influence on atmospheric dynamics, clouds and precipitation," he said.
WMO set up the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System in 2007 to improve observations and information on airborne dust and provide forecasts a full three-day in advance.
The agency is working with other partners including the World Health Organization, UN Environment Program and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification to inform policy decisions.