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Sand and dust storms are common meteorological hazards in arid and semi-arid regions. They are usually caused by thunderstorms – or strong pressure gradients associated with cyclones – which increase wind speed over a wide area. These strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from bare, dry soils into the atmosphere, transporting them hundreds to thousands of kilometres away. Some 40% of aerosols in the troposphere (the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere) are dust particles from wind erosion.
WMO supports climate policy-making by providing authoritative advice and information on climate change mitigation and adaptation. WMO draws from the best available scientific expertise from the National Hydrological and Meteorological Services of its Members, and international data centres and agencies. Moreover, WMO promotes a better understanding of the societal impacts of climate change within the United Nations system.