Gill and colleagues find possible link between rise in both dust storms and valley fever
Researchers have discovered a possible link between the rise in both dust storms and valley fever cases in the southwestern United States over the previous two decades.
A study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that dust storms have dramatically risen by 240 percent from the 1990s to the 2000s.
In the Southwest, the average number of windblown dust storms increased from 20 per year in the 1990s to 48 per year in the 2000s, according to the NOAA-led study.
“The Dust Bowl that happened in the 1930s is really an unfortunate convergence of three things: an extremely severe drought; a great depression and economic downturn that led a lot of people to abandon their farms; and unwise land care practices,” said University of Texas at El Paso professor Dr. Thomas Gill, who contributed to the study.
“Hopefully we won’t have that combination of events happening again,” Gill said. “But we know from the paleoclimate records that megadroughts can happen.”