More frequent droughts and more powerful storms are leading to more frequent and more severe dust storms in the United States. These so-called “dust emissions” have increased over the last 17 years. What are the effects of more dust in the air?
1. When the dust covers snow, it causes it to absorb more sunlight, which leads to faster snow melt. This is particularly the case in the Rockies.
2. Reduced visibility makes driving dangerous.
3. Of course, all of that dust in the air can cause respiratory problems.
4. Two upsides: the dust storms carry soil nutrients over further distances. It also helps cancel out the effects of acid rain.
We need to do more to combat soil erosion and drought conditions in the American Southwest, or dust storms will continue to become more frequent.