The aim of this International Network is to improve understanding of contemporary and future impacts of high latitude and cold climate dust (HLCCD) in the Earth system using a multi-disciplinary approach. The first step has been to systematically review and evaluate existing understanding of the expanse, characteristics and dynamics of HLCCD. This evaluation has been published in the journal Reviews of Geophysics as an open access paper, freely accessible to all (High Latitude Dust in the Earth System, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016RG000518/full).
The second objective of the network is to produce and maintain a comprehensive digital database and atlas of contemporary HLCCD sources and associated data. Such databases have successfully been compiled by the glaciological, hot desert and planetary research communities to integrate diverse sources of data and to identify new, strategic research goals. The HLCCD database will provide similar opportunities; it will also be used to identify critical geographical areas that are lacking data and that would benefit from future research endeavours.
The digital database will be compiled using a geographical information system and will unite data from disparate sources and disciplines in a format accessible to all researchers. Data will include topography, climate, hydrology, geochemistry, sedimentology and dust emissions. Climate reanalysis (e.g. ECMWF Interim) and topographic data (e.g. ASTER) will be available for most areas. Other data will come from regional datasets (e.g. southern South America, the Antarctic) and will be geo-referenced to a common co-ordinate system. Data will be stored as fully-attributed polygons or arcs, images or text files and will be available here on the Network website, with comprehensive metadata. The Network partners bring expertise in dust provenance, geochemistry, remote sensing and modelling and will contribute to the database underlying the atlas.