Identifying Dust Emission "Hot Spots" in the Southern Plains Region of NM, OK and TX: Effect of Blowing Dust on Highway Safety

Windblown dust poses a significant hazard to highway safety. Projected global changes, including changes in climate, land use, and land cover, will likely bring more frequent and extreme dust emissions to the southwestern United States, posing a serious threat to transportation safety in the coming decades. Dust contributes to chain-reaction traffic accidents and property damage, however, no known studies have specifically investigated this issue in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Spatial and temporal patterns of dust emission hot spots and their relation to the occurrence of blowing dust and highways are poorly understood. The lack of this critical information hinders highway managers in making informed and timely management decisions when wind events strike. This study will identify and quantitatively assess the spatial and temporal patterns of wind erosion hot spots that contribute blowing dust to the highways of New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. It will focus on interstate highways, where investment in surveillance and warning devices is greatest, and where high traffic volumes and speeds make the threat of blowing dust most hazardous. The project will use remotely sensed and in situ observations of land use, soil, and vegetation data to develop an integrated modeling and monitoring system to assist in highway safety management and mitigate the hazardous impacts of dust. The study will (1) classify geomorphic and land cover characteristics and identify current dust source area along main highways; (2) use remote sensing data to retrieve soil and vegetation characteristics to identify potential dust source areas; (3) conduct field measurement of soil and vegetation properties at the wind erosion hot spots for dust emission modeling, and (4) model dust emission from the hot spots under land use disturbance and extreme wind events. Implementation will allow land and highway managers to make informed management decisions and address impacts related to climate change.


    • English


    • Status: Proposed
    • Contract Numbers:


      SPTC 14.1-39

    • Sponsor Organizations:

      University of Texas, El Paso

      Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
      500 W. University Avenue
      El Paso, Texas  United States  79968-0587

      Texas Tech University, Lubbock

      Office of Research Services
      349 Administration
      Lubbock, Texas  United States  79409-1053

      The University of Tulsa

      Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
      800 S. Tucker Drive
      Tulsa, Oklahoma  United States  74104-9700

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      University Transportation Centers Program
      1200 New Jersey Avenue
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Texas, El Paso

      Department of Geological Sciences
      El Paso, TX  United States  79968

      Texas Tech University, Lubbock

      Department of Geosciences
      MS 1053
      Lubbock, Texas  United States  79409-1053

      The University of Tulsa

      Department of Geosciences
      441 South Gary
      Tulsa, Oklahoma  United States  74104
    • Principal Investigators:

      Gill, Thomas

      Lee, Jeffrey

      Li, Junran

    • Start Date: 20150101
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20151231
    • Source Data: RiP Project 38050

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01543445
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Southern Plains Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC36, SPTC 14.1-39
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: Nov 15 2014 1:00AM