Environment

USA Dust Bowl Repeat

A new study finds dust levels are rising in the American Great Plains due to farming practices and climate trends that scientists say are reminiscent of the lead-up to the 1930s Dust Bowl period.

The University of Utah research finds that the amount of dust has risen up to 5% per year, which coincides with the expansion of cropland and seasonal crop cycles. Writing in Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists suggest farming practices could now be exposing more soil to wind erosion, albeit much less than when 1920s Midwestern farmers were tilling the topsoil with mechanical plows. This led to the Dust Bowl after severe drought struck.

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