The degree to which dust emissions are controlled by vegetation cover and geomorphic setting (specifically closed topographic depressions) was investigated using dust storm frequency (DSF) data based on visibility measurements from >2400 meteorological stations worldwide. Comparisons with distributions of vegetation types suggest that DSF is highest in desert/bare ground (median: 60-80 d/yr) and shrubland (median: 20-30 d/yr) regions, and comparatively low in grassland regions (median: 2-4 d/yr). Average DSF is inversely correlated with leaf area index (an index of vegetation density) and net primary productivity. In non-forested regions, DSF increase as the fraction of closed topographic depressions increases, likely due to the accumulation of fine sediments in these areas. These findings support the importance of incorporating vegetation and geomorphic setting as explicit controls on emissions in global dust cycle models.