Fellows in the News


A study published in the Geophysical Research Letter in October found the number of dust storms in the Great Plains region has increased over the past two decades, due in part to more frequent droughts and agricultural expansion.

The study didn’t include data on New Mexico, but University of Utah Associate Professor Gannet Hallar, who led the team that conducted the study, told the Journal their maps show the southeast corner of the state is seeing similar increases in dust, and especially extreme events such as dust storms.

“When you look at extreme events, that trend increases closer to exactly 10% a year,” Hallar said.

Thomas Gill, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso who specializes in dust storms in the Southwest, said dust is becoming an increasingly common issue in New Mexico, due mostly to droughts that last longer and longer.

“As drought increases and persists … dust storms become more frequent,” Gill said. “Certainly, the intensity of dust storms is increasing rapidly.”


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