Dust to Get Worse

Desert dust blowing from the Southwest into the Rockies has been implicated in everything from earlier snowmelt and air quality violations to causing avalanches. A new study indicates these storms will become more frequent and intense as increased temperature kill desert vegetation. A research team from the U.S. Geological Survey and UCLA looked at climate, vegetation, and soil measurements collected over a 20-year period in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in southeastern Utah. Long-term data indicated that perennial vegetation in grasslands and some shrublands declined with temperature increases. The study then used these soil and vegetation measurements in a model to project future wind erosion.