Dust Symposium 2018

Southern U.S. Dust Monitoring and Mitigation Symposium 2018




  • The aeolian research community hasn’t engaged well with climate impacts and adaptation research. The dust modelling community has engaged with climate modeling to assess aerosol impacts on radiative forcing and cloud nucleation, but using fairly simple models that do not represent land surface dynamics and their impacts on and feedbacks with aeolian processes. Land condition (influenced by aeolian processes) underpins the magnitude of climate impacts and efficacy of adaptation options, so making the linkages btwn aeolian processes, land degradation and climate change will be important.
  • We have developed a reasonably good understanding of the climatic drivers of wind erosion and dust emission, but have some way to go in understanding the impacts of land use and land cover change, particularly in the context of ecosystem change through state transitions. Dust models currently oversimplify vegetation effects on transport and are insensitive to changes in vegetation structure typical of state transitions. Following this, we really haven’t explored aeolian process responses to regional ecosystem change – e.g., grass-shrub transitions, sagebrush-cheatgrass-fire-wind erosion interactions.
  • New models like AERO are addressing the model deficiencies and uncertainties and should enable use to start addressing points 1 and 2 above.
  • It will be important for the aeolian research community to consider how we report and describe “wind erosion” processes to managers/agencies. We typically model saltation and dust fluxes (not net erosion), so we need to better communicate what these mean and what impacts they may have on agroecosystems. In communicating to managers, we should also consider how these (somewhat intangible) fluxes relate to more common indicators like foliar cover, canopy gaps sizes, canopy height, soil texture,… The wind erosion handbook could discuss these issues.
  • Tools like PiSWERL provide complementary information about dust emission potential of soils but we need to be very care about sample designs. Typically no-one using the instrument has used a robust/defensible sample design that would enable the data to be scaled or even interpreted through statistical analysis.
  • A growing number of people are using the PiSWERL – perhaps now is a good time to develop a common database for storing and sharing PiSWERL data.
  • A couple of the presenters nicely summarized the costs and benefits of dust mitigation options in tables that were accessible and could be a nice addition to the wind erosion handbook.