Lambert, A; Hallar, AG; Garcia, M; Strong, C; Andrews, E; Hand, JL (2020). Dust Impacts of Rapid Agricultural Expansion on the Great Plains. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 47(20), e2020GL090347.

Climate change and land use are altering the landscape of the U.S. Great Plains, producing increases in windblown dust. These increases are investigated by combining coarse mode aerosol observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor in addition to the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) and Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) aerosol monitoring networks. Increasing trends of up to 5%/year in MODIS aerosol optical depth for dust observations are observed throughout the Great Plains (2000-2018). Cropland coverage has increased 5-10% over the majority of the Great Plains (2008-2018), and positive monthly trends in IMPROVE (1988-2018) and AERONET (1995-2018) coarse mode 90th percentile observations coincide with planting and harvesting seasons of predominant crops. Presently, results suggest increased dust due to agricultural expansion is negatively influencing human health and visibility in the Great Plains. Furthermore, results foreshadow a future where desertification becomes an increasing risk in the Great Plains.