The Taklimakan Desert is known to be one of the world’s major sources of aeolian dust particles. Continuous images with 10-min temporal and 2-km spatial resolutions from a new-generation geostationary meteorological satellite captured the lifecycle (generation, evolution and outflow) of a previously unrecognized type of Taklimakan dust storm. The dust storm showed an anti-clockwise spiral structure and a clear core and behaved like a “dust vortex”. From image analysis, the horizontal scale and temporal lifetime of the dust vortex were estimated to be 600 km and 36 hours, respectively. We found that a strong pressure trough (cut-off low), along with a cold air mass located on the northwestern side of the Taklimakan Desert and the high mountains surrounding the Taklimakan Desert, played important roles in the formation and evolution of the dust vortex.
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