This is the official website of a NASA funded project for regional dust forecasting.

This project will apply NASA satellite products through innovative data assimilation techniques to improve operational dust forecasts at local, regional and national levels, so that improved dust prediction can be utilized to support key decision-making activities. We propose the following tasks:

  • Enhance dust forecasting under the National Air Quality Forecast Capability. We will use a suite of NASA land and aerosol products (Land Cover, NDVI, AOD and Black-Sky Albedo from MODIS, soil moisture from SMAP, and Precipitation from IMERG) to improve dust emission. MISR aerosol height product will be used to constrain dust vertical distribution. Satellite, suborbital and ground observations will be used to evaluate forecast performance.
  • We will develop three new applications to integrate satellite-aided dust forecasts and NASA observations to support decision-making systems.
    • 1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Arizona Department of Health Services will overlay dust predictions and observations with information on soil moisture condition (which can determine whether dust is lofted into the atmosphere) and the distribution of human populations that are vulnerable to Valley fever.  Our ultimate goal is to develop more effective early warning and surveillance systems for surveillance and future outbreaks of the disease.
    • 2) We will partner with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to develop a real-time road visibility product that combines model forecasting with ground- and satellite-based observations to provide rapid updates and warnings of visibility anomalies and hazardous driving conditions.
    • 3) Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), Pima County DEQ, and Pinal County Air Quality Control District (PCAQCD) will demonstrate how the improved systems can be used to improve air quality forecasts and early warnings–and how they can be applied to identify and anticipate potential wind erosion areas for dust control measures.

The project directly contributes to NASA’s Health and Air Quality objectives by integrating Earth observations into practitioners’ decision-making.  This work will address imminent and ongoing risks of dust storms regarding a life-threatening disease (Valley fever) and highway accidents. Climatologists anticipate drying trends across the western United States, and such risks will become more severe in the coming decades. Improved dust predictions will be instrumental in addressing the risks and consequences of climate change and will support managers and policy makers in plans, preparations and actions to mitigate harm. Scientific advances within an international community of similar aim are shared through collaboration in the Pan-America Center for the World Meteorological Organization’s Sand & Dust Storm Warning Advisory & Assessment System.

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