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Posted Sun Apr 19 2009: from Nature:
Asian nations unite to fight dust storms
The dust-storm season in northeast Asia is expected to hit its peak next week, and this week three of the countries hardest hit met in Beijing to coordinate their response. The storms coat cars, bury railways and facilities, and destroy crops, with the thick dust often bringing visibility down to the hundreds-of-metres range. Whipped up to heights of up to 8 kilometres, dust sometimes makes it as far as the United States. The dust originates from the Takla Makan Desert, the Gobi Desert and other arid regions of northern China and Mongolia. It is a natural phenomenon, but accelerating desertification, caused by soil degradation and overgrazing, has made it worse.
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