Research finds spike in dust storms in American Southwest driven by ocean changes

People living in the American Southwest have experienced a dramatic increase in windblown dust storms in the last two decades, likely driven by large-scale changes in sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean drying the region’s soil, according to new NOAA-led research. With the increase in dust storms, scientists have also documented a spike in Valley fever, an infectious disease caught by inhaling a soil-dwelling fungus found primarily in the Southwest.

Development degrades Canary Island’s cherished sand dunes (+video)

A new study published in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, explores the impact of development on local wind patterns and dune formation on one of Spain’s Canary Islands. By reviewing aerial photographs and topographical measurements, the study’s authors watched how a city’s expansion altered local wind patterns and ultimately changed the surrounding landscape, jeopardizing the long-term sustainability of a major tourist destination.