Synoptic Scale Meteorological Conditions of Dust Events over the Southwestern Border Region of the US

Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Rebecca Britt Armenta1, David W DuBois1, Max P Bleiweiss1 and David J. Novlan2, (1)New Mexico State University Main Campus, Las Cruces, NM, United States, (2)NOAA- National Weather Service, Santa Teresa, NM, United States
Dust storms affect the environment, health and economics of a region. For these reasons it is important to understand the main causes and sources of windblown dust in the southwestern border region of the US. To help us understand the causes of the dust storms in our region, we are attempting to determine the synoptic scale meteorological conditions present at the time of approximately 60 dust storm events (from about 600 dust events over a 15 year period). From that, we will develop a "synoptic scale climatology" for dust events in the border region. To develop this climatology, we are using the NARR 500mb geopotential height patterns at 18GMT (approximate time of initial dust emission) to investigate whether our "observational" experience agrees with our hypothesis that a 500mb geopotential height low pressure pattern exists in the vicinity of the NM/CO border (latitudinal extent) and, depending on the timing of the event and other influences, somewhere from UT to TX (longitudinal extent). In our analysis we are comparing individual 500mb geopotential height patterns to a mean 500mb geopotential height pattern. Our preliminary results indicate that our observations are valid. Our goal is to develop a tool for forecasting these types of events.