The Dust Storm Index (DSI): A method for monitoring broadscale wind erosion using meteorological records

T. O'Loingsigh*, G. H. McTainsh, E. K. Tews, C. L. Strong, J. F. Leys, P. Shinkfield, N. J. Tapper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Wind erosion of soils is a natural process that has shaped the semi-arid and arid landscapes for millennia. This paper describes the Dust Storm Index (DSI); a methodology for monitoring wind erosion using Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) meteorological observational data since the mid-1960s (long-term), at continental scale. While the 46. year length of the DSI record is its greatest strength from a wind erosion monitoring perspective, there are a number of technical challenges to its use because when the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recording protocols were established the use of the data for wind erosion monitoring was never intended. Data recording and storage protocols are examined, including the effects of changes to the definition of how observers should interpret and record dust events. A method is described for selecting the 180 long-term ABM stations used in this study and the limitations of variable observation frequencies between stations are in part resolved. The rationale behind the DSI equation is explained and the examples of temporal and spatial data visualisation products presented include; a long term national wind erosion record (1965-2011), continental DSI maps, and maps of the erosion event types that are factored into the DSI equation. The DSI is tested against dust concentration data and found to provide an accurate representation of wind erosion activity. As the ABM observational records used here were collected according to WMO protocols, the DSI methodology could be used in all countries with WMO-compatible meteorological observation and recording systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-40
Number of pages12
JournalAeolian Research
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Dust Storm Index (DSI): A method for monitoring broadscale wind erosion using meteorological records'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this