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Global and regional importance of the direct dust-climate feedback

Our results indicate that the sign and magnitude of the direct dust–climate feedback varies greatly on regional scales. This occurs in part because of large spatial variability in dust loading, and in part because the global dust DRE is the sum of counteracting cooling and warming effects that are both modulated by a variety of factors. Dust cooling effects arise from scattering of SW radiation, which dominates for fine dust and is enhanced over dark surfaces. In contrast, dust warming effects arise from scattering of LW radiation and absorption of SW and LW radiation. These warming effects dominate for coarse dust and are enhanced over bright surfaces and for high altitude dust layers. The dependence of the radiative effects on particle size causes the fining of the dust size distribution during long-range transport to produce a gradual shift from warming interactions to cooling interactions. However, this effect is often overwhelmed by the coincident shift from high albedo deserts close to source regions to low albedo ocean and vegetated surfaces further from source regions.

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