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Studying the effects of dust and drought on climate change (APRIL 13, 2022)

Titre : Studying the effects of dust and drought on climate change

Atmospheric dust plays a key role in Earth’s climate system. While it can have a positive impact, such as fertilizing the soil, dust can also have a negative impact on our planet’s ecosystems, affecting everything from the weather to global warming. (APRIL 13, 2022)

For example, in the Four Corners region—which includes portions of Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico—millions of people rely on water that comes from snow in the San Juan Mountains that melts and eventually flows downstream into the Colorado River. Dust from the atmosphere falls on the snow, darkening it and accelerating snowmelt. As the snow melts more quickly, it evaporates faster, impacting water supplies in an area already affected by extreme drought.

Associate professor Nick McKay and his team of paleoclimatologists in NAU’s School of Earth and Sustainability have been studying dust for several years in this high-elevation region, which is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Funded through a private donation from Bob and Judi Braudy in 2016, they have collaborated with scientists at Cornell University to study the effects of dust and drought during Phase I of "The Drought-Dust Nexus in the Four Corners Region and Impacts on Society." Now, with additional funding from the same donors, the collaborators will continue their research for five more years.

Source  : Kerry Bennett, Northern Arizona University

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Page publiée le 14 janvier 2023