ISL Research on Salt Dust Storms in Qaidam Basin and Its Impact on Resources


In arid and semi-arid regions of the world, salt dust storms (special sandstorms) are a common extreme meteorological disaster. It is generally believed that salt (alkali) dust storms are a special type of dust storms formed by the spread of fine-grained sediments rich in soluble salts on the surface of arid and semi-arid regions into the atmosphere through wind erosion, which has the characteristics of early appearance, high frequency, high salt content, unique cause and great harm. The salt dust aerosol contains a large amount of saline-alkali dust and heavy metal elements and other harmful substances and has strong chemically corrosive and toxicity. Its hazard is greater than that of ordinary dust storms. Not only will it directly cause huge economic losses, but also the ecological environment and human health have serious impacts. Therefore, in-depth research on salt and dust storms is of great significance to regional socio-economic development, ecological environmental protection and human health maintenance.

The Qaidam Basin is an important unit of the Pan-Third Pole region. It is located in the interior of northwestern China. The climate is extremely dry, the ecological environment is extremely fragile, and salt and dust storms occur frequently. It has affected the regional atmosphere, soil, vegetation, human health and even global climate change. Have produced varying degrees of impact. At present, the understanding of the nature of the dust storms in this area is not yet profound, and the important impact of such high-salt dust storms on regional resources and ecological environment has not yet been realized.

In response to the above scientific issues, with the support of the "Second Comprehensive Scientific Investigation of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau" and the Basic Research Program of Qinghai Province, Professor Zhang Xiying of ISL systematically explained the impact of salt dust storms on resources and the ecological environment from the global climate change, soil vegetation, basic and industrial facilities, human health and salt lake resource formation, etc., which provides reference ideas for the in-depth study of salt and dust storms in this area and the protection and treatment of regional ecological environment.

It is indicated that salt dust storms in the Qaidam Basin are formed and developed under the influence of both natural and man-made factors. Their action processes and mechanisms are still lacking in-depth understanding. It is necessary to consider regional and global climate systems, hydrological systems, resource systems, and ecology to carry out comprehensive long-term observation and the coupling mechanism of various related factors from the perspective of comprehensive integration of environmental systems. At the same time, the impact and harm of salt dust storms on the Qaidam Basin cannot be ignored. A systematic study of salt dust storms in this area can provide an important scientific basis for the green development of the salt lake resources in the basin, the protection of the regional ecological environment, and the strong construction of national ecological barriers. For details, please refer to the “Spotlight Research”, the first issue of the special issue of geosciences in 2020, “Salt Lake Research”: 11-17.



Distribution of Salt Lake and National Nature Reserve in Qaidam Basin