What is it about?

Our new research uses a network of lakes in the Rocky Mountains to explore dust-drought dynamics in the US Southwest. We find that dust deposition in the Colorado mountains is higher today than in the last 11,000 years! And further, we find no evidence for a link between dust and drought deposition on multi-decadal and centennial scales. This has important implications for the communities and the environment of the Southwest when we think about future droughts. Our research suggests that land-use management decisions aimed at reducing land disturbance can mitigate future dustiness, despite projected increases in regional aridity.

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Why is it important?

This research is important because (1) up to now we did not know how much dust was deposited in the mountains prior to a few thousand years, (2) up to now we thought dust would be higher during periods of drought, and (3) up to now we thought that drought would be more important for dust than human impact.


This paper was the culmination of three years of work, three field work seasons, and hundreds of hours in the lab. The first chapter of my PhD!

Stephanie Arcusa
Northern arizona university

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Dust-drought interactions over the last 15,000 years: A network of lake sediment records from the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, The Holocene, September 2019, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0959683619875192.
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