EARTH: Return of the Dust Bowl: Geoscientists Predict a Dry, Dusty Future for the American West

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Haboobs, giant dust storms, walloped Arizona last summer - some close to 2 kilometers high and 160 kilometers wide - knocking out electricity, creating traffic jams and grounding airplanes. Even old-timers say they can't remember anything quite like this year's aerial assaults. Meanwhile Texas is experiencing one of the most extreme droughts in recent history, with almost 90 percent of the state in the most extreme level of drought. Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and other states are also experiencing drought conditions. The worry is that this might just be the start of a trend, as EARTH reports in the November issue: Over the next couple of decades, researchers say, the American West will transition to an environment that may make the 1930s Dust Bowl seem mild and brief.

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