The greater amount of dust storms that have visited Arizona in the past few years are due to an increased amount of dust in the air, according to a recent study by the University of Colorado Boulder.
The escalation is a result of several factors including increased windstorm frequency, drought cycles and changing land-use patterns in the last 17 years, a report said .
"What we know is that there are a lot of dust storms, and if you ask people on the Western Slope of Colorado, or in Utah or Arizona, you'll often hear them say, 'Yeah, I grew up in this area, and I don't remember it ever being like this before,'" Jason Neff, CU-Boulder geological sciences Associate Professor, told Phys.org .
The study linked the increase to an increase in dust erosion. This transfer of dust can result in impoverished soil in the areas where it has gone and added nutrients to the areas where it's spread to.
Excessive amounts of dust in the air can create poor air quality and low visibility and in some extreme cases, shut down freeways.
Measures to collect more data on the increase are being designed in order to potentially develop preventive actions.