"Climate Change To Create a Dustier Southwest"

"A warmer Southwest might very well mean a dustier Southwest.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of California-Los Angeles that has far-reaching implications for all of Utah, where healthy range is vital to livestock, wildlife and recreation, as well as air quality and water supplies.

Seth Munson, a USGS ecologist and the study’s lead author, noted that looking at how climate change might affect wind erosion in arid landscapes is an important new area of research.

With climate change, temperatures are expected to increase. That, in turn, means more evaporation, less soil moisture and fewer grasses and some shrubs, which help protect the soil from blowing away in the stiff winds that rip through Utah from the south and west.

'You’re going to have less vegetation,' said Munson, 'and more dust.'"

Judy Fahys reports for the Salt Lake Tribune May 13, 2011.

Monday, May 16, 2011