The relatively unstudied area of how dust carried by rain affects both arid and humid regions was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Joe Collins, an assistant professor in MTSU’s Department of Geosciences, first aired Sept. 4 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to it above.
Along with researchers from the University of North Texas, Collins collected and studied rainwater samples during the 2012 drought in Texas. They found that dust can carry nutrients and pollutants across oceans before depositing them into new environments.
After examining samples from the arid Guadalupe Mountains and the humid gulf coastal prairie, Collins and his colleagues determined that dust-in-rain samples delivered as much as 60 percent of ecosystems’ annual nutrient and pollutant inputs.
“A lot of the data show that it is going to become drier out there, but there’s also an increase in precipitation, too, except the precipitation comes down all at once as opposed to throughout the year,” Collins said.
“As a farmer, you want it to rain during times when your crops need it. We’re worried about what that does to an entire region that’s in a drought.”
“Wet Dust Deposition Across Texas During the 2012 Drought: An Overlooked Pathway for Elemental Flux to Ecosystems,” was published July 6 in the American Geophysical Union’s Journal for Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.
You can read the abstract and supporting information for the study here.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.