Now it's dust storms that are caused by "climate change"

When I first saw this photo in news stories today, my first thought was “how long before somebody idiotically links this to global warming aka climate change aka climate disruption” (take your pick)?

Dust storm hits Phoenix, July 5th, 2011 - click image for source

The answer, not long. From The Atlantic we have this pronouncement:

Environmentalists remind us that the conditions that create dust storms can be linked to climate change and poor farming practices. Today, the Earth is twice as dusty as it was in the 19th-century. At least we have YouTube and Twitpic to document the incredibly terrifying consequences?

Here’s some spectacular video of what is called a Haboob in progress yesterday. I find it more interesting than “terrifying”:

I had to laugh when I saw the title of this one.

Doomsday? Really? Dust storms might be an annoyance, and may shut down things we take for granted like air travel and sometimes road travel, but they hardly equate to doomsday. I’ll save that for when the sun goes nova or some crazy political/zealot faction starts setting off nukes.

Seems that dust storms in desert cities aren’t that uncommon, such as this one in Phoenix in 2003:


Haboob blowing into Ahwatukee, Phoenix, Arizona on 22 August 2003. Image from Wikipedia

And more examples:

Monsoon Storm Photo

Dust Storm Rises Over Phoenix on Labor Day, 1972. No Rain Had Fallen in the Area for 153 Days , 06/1972. Dust Storm Picture from Environmental Protection Agency.

From Wikipedia, notable dust storms

  • 1954-1991: The multi-year droughts in portions of North America of 1954-56, 1976–78, and 1987-91 were noted for dust storms of the intensity seen in the middle 1930s over some fraction of their coverage and timespan, and more sporadically during the times between. The three multi-year droughts were similar to the 1930s in storms being raised by synoptic scale weather events such as cyclones and cold fronts; otherwise the most common trigger is the outflow from convective activity, known as a haboob. Significant events of the latter variety occurred in Colorado and Kansas in May 2004 with winds to 100 mph, Minnesota and Wisconsin in June 2004 causing significant damage, and the upper Middle West in May 1988, notable for strong electrification and lightning activity and by one estimate reaching 30 000 ft or more. The first and third of this list reached black blizzard intensity, causing total blackout for some period ranging from 90 sec to 10 or more minutes, over some fraction of the ground covered. The 1987-91 drought was especially notable as in the 1930s for the large number of rain of mud events, often generated by dust in suspension and/or carried on upper-level winds.
  • 1971: A dust storm that occurred near Tucson, Arizona on July 16 was extensively documented by meteorologists.

Dec 1, 1982 – High winds kicked up dust storms from near the California border, to Gila Bend, south of Phoenix. minutes,” said Keith the state’s chief National Weather Service The San Diego Zoo was closed Tuesday for the fifth time in its 66- year history after wind blew down eucalyptus trees.

From Mean Storm Hits Calif., Moves East .

Aug 20, 1999 – A large dust storm moves into the downtown Phoenix area causing 90-minute flight delays at the Sky Harbor International Airport. Wind gusts of up to 45 mph hampered visibility as the dust storm swept through the metro area from the southern portions of Arizona.

From Phoenix gets down and dirty in big dust storm | Deseret News

Yeah, doomsday.


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Michael Bay apparently runs the news now.


The Santa Ana winds occasionally bring dust as far north as San Jose; the last time I recall was in the 90’s, I moved to Texas in 2003. Of course, at the time Climate change never came up in conversations, it was just weather, not a horrifying disaster linked to every ill of mankind, or noted as having similarities to storms on Mars……/sarc.


It’s a good thing William Connolley can not edit Wikipedia lately, he would surely change the definition of “Haboob” and “doomsday” to fit the AGW orthodoxy.

ann r

Dust storms in Phoenix were very common during the ’30s. My mother had lots of dust storm stories.

Julian Flood

I can do you a doomsday if you like, or explain the one we’ve got at least.
More dust (twice the 19th C amount) means more silica in the oceans. Diatoms are limited by silica and it is only when they run out of that compound that the calcareous phytos can flourish. Fewer calcareous phytoplankton, less light carbon pull-down*, more light carbon in the atmosphere, hence the false anthropogenic signal.
Diatoms are not so good at forming di-methyl sulphide, the stuff that makes the aerosols which are brilliant at forming clouds. Fewer clouds, global warming.
(Please leave the Nobel with the neighbours if we’re out. Thank you.)
(Serious students might like to check the results of silica fallout on the oceans by studying the recent North Pacific volcanoes.)
*Diatoms use crassula acid metabolism to fix their CO2. It is less discriminatory against the heavy C isotopes. If you want to make memorable dolmades, use vine leaves which have been picked at dawn and kept in the dark. CAM uses a malic acid dump during darkness and the result is a pleasing lemon taste.

Dave Wendt

Obviously someone is out in the Arizona desert trying to revivify a mummy. Anybody have a location for Brendan Fraser?


Why the need for an arab name? As if the arabs had some monoply on dust storms. LOL

Eyal Porat

Anybody said Dust Bowl?
Ah, that was nothing compared to our times – they had no YouTube then …


If you have a couple acres of highly subsidized solar panels to sweep clean after the dust storm passes, you may call it terrifying. Then you go back inside to your XBox 360 and bong.

Move over to the UK, with an impressive 350 years of 0 (zero) temperature trend line:

Anything can be linked to anything, especially if there’s money in it.
Why are we surprised that many people believe in “climate change” being the cause of every natural disaster? Their ancestors believed for thousands of years that some omniscient and omnipotent Old Man in the Sky is the cause of everything (including all the catastrophes, diseases, sufferings, tribulations, and evil deeds).
Stupidity, gullibility, and conformism are obviously genetically inherited traits. One couldn’t be a good slave if he or she wouldn’t believe in what was being told “from above.” Good slaves have been carefully bred since times immemorial. Their descendants are a legion, and they live among us today.


I like that first one. Did Roland Emmerich direct it?

John A. Fleming

While visually exciting, they are relatively harmless. As long as planes stay in clear air ahead of the gust front, they are harmless to airplanes, and airport operations are only affected for about 1/2 hour.. As kids we liked ’em, cuz the temperature would drop by twenty degrees from the thunderstorm-cooled air. A few palm trees fall over is about the extent of it, everybody has to dust off everything that is outside.
If you must, the frequency and strength of these haboobs is a consequence of the strength of the monsoon season, as warm moist unstable air is sucked in from the Gulf of Mexico and then uplifted by the fierce desert heat. If the west winds from California are too strong, the summer rains fail.
About 15 years ago, the monsoon in Arizona failed. All the moisture got blown to Iowa, which suffered massive mid-summer flooding.
They typically come from the south, distributing desert alluvial soils to the north.

John Silver


Mac the Knife

Damn……. Have to go up on the roof and vacuum off the ^%$^#$@@ solar panels again!
Dust In The Wind:

Martin C

That was a MONSTER of a dust storm last night. I live in Mesa (the east side of the Phoenix metro area) and watching it come in was amazing. Visiblity dropped to about 1/10 mile where we were as the dust ‘front’ hit us.
It sure would have been nice to follow it up with rain ( a few areas I think did, we didn’t . . .)


Getting sandblasted might be terrifying if you were a solar panel.


Seriously? I have lived in Arizona for the last 15 years. I think I’ve seen a dust storm every year, and probably have been in four or five haboob. To me, it would represent a change in climate if they stopped.

anna v

What the ice record tells us, seldom talked about, is that dust storms rise in frequency with the cold, the more water tied in ice the more land exposed to violent winds.
Graph of CO2 (green), reconstructed temperature (blue) and dust (red) from the Vostok ice core for the past 420,000 years.


You made it to a article………
The first panel of the conference featured Anthony Watts, proprietor of the popular climate change skeptic blog Watts Up with That?, retired University of Winnipeg geographer Timothy Ball, and Patrick Michaels. Watts is the guy behind the project showing that a surprisingly high number of U.S. weather stations are badly situated. Tim Ball is a self-described long time skeptic of global warming orthodoxy.


Today, the Earth is twice as dusty as it was in the 19th-century.
That’s quite the factoid! I guess there must be hockey stick dust chartists and computer dust modellers looking for a steady stream of grants. And think of the poor dust bunny overpopulation problem!

anna v

This is the url of the graph:
It worked in the preview :(.

John F. Hultquist

There is a refernce at this site
To this:
Idso, S.B. 1973. Haboobs in Arizona. Weather 28(4):154-155.
1973 !
There is also a photo from 14 April 1935 of a dust cloud near Spearman, TX. I think I remember this one from a US history class in high school.
We have dust storms in Washington State, big ones in the south central part, and numerous whirling dust devils in the central part along I-90.

Frank K.

Shhhhhh…Greenpeace and the climate alarmists are FUNDRAISING this month…PLEASE don’t destroy a good climate scare story!! Thanks…

Martin Brumby

The excellent Richard North on EU Referendum has his take on this:-
Amazing to see the problems “carbon” caused already in Grandpappy’s day!

“Today, the Earth is twice as dusty as it was in the 19th-century.”
Really???? REALLY??????????


Dust storms before 1959
Images of terrible dust from the 1930s
1954 and 2011 terrible drought

But dust storms ARE GOOD! From one of the links in the Atlantic link… They EAT the dreaded CO2!!!!
Of course, this also means that, because the evil Global Warming inspired dust storm increase has been hiding the actual increase in man made CO2…. There has been MORE CO2 emitted than has been measure…. Which means… It’s worse than we thought!!!!!


Another twig on the fire for boiling the frogs (us). Although is specific to finance/economy it pertains to most anything else these days also:
Partial quote:
But there are other ways of changing one kind of socioeconomic system to a fundamentally different kind of system that minimize or localize abrupt, destabilizing change. Gramscian “revolutionaries” have learned this lesson well – although they do not speak the vocabulary of systems theory, of course. They have learned to get what they want by pursuing their goals gradually, one step at a time, through infiltrating and modifying existing institutions and other systems rather than overthrowing them and trying to create new ones from scratch. Clearly, a central-government initiative calling for abolishing the U.S. Constitution would have provoked an armed upheaval at any time in U.S. history, and it is at least possible that anything this abrupt still would. U.S. citizens, that is, would jump out immediately if thrown into that pot of boiling water. But if the haters of Constitutional government proceed in small increments, they eventually gut the Constitution almost unnoticed – particularly if they carry out their initiatives in multiple components of U.S. society (so-called public schools, the banking system, the major news media, the legal system, etc.). Moreover, Gramscians have found that the road to centralization is much easier if “paved with good intentions,” expressed in pseudo-moral language and portrayed as a source of stability to come. Myriad small disruptions in the lives of individuals and local communities can be rationalized as the price to be paid for the utopia just over the horizon. “You can’t make an omelet,” so the saying goes, “without breaking a few eggs.” So systems accommodate and incorporate these small steps, absorbing the disruptions as best they can and not allowing them to threaten the system’s overall stability. But when a system absorbs these small steps instead of repelling them, it incorporates them into its basic functioning and its transformation to a different kind of system with entirely different arrangements between its components has begun. Or in terms of the Boiling Frog Syndrome, the frog is in the pot, and the temperature of the water has begun, very slowly, to rise.


Dust storm deaths before 1959. Doomsday was here in the past. ;O)

John F. Hultquist

Julian Flood says:
July 6, 2011 at 11:55 am
“If you want to make memorable dolmades, use vine leaves . . .

O dear, I’d better try this before all the vines are gone:
Seriously, I did not know about the picking of vine leaves at dawn and the lemon taste. High nighttime temps can cause dark grapes to loose color and, I suppose, there is a connection of some sort. So, off to find that old text by Maynard Amerine . . .

Jeremy Poynton

Also occur in Oz. My daughter had to flee one whilst picking fruit near Mildura nine or so years ago.

Pretty sure I saw a plane fly through that unscathed on that video, which makes even more of a mockery of the total shutdown of British and European airspace when the Icelandic volcano whose name I shan’t attempt to spell erupted last year


Gee, who would have thought you could have a dust storm so near a desert!
Get over it, comes to mind. We used to have them all the time in Shaybah, that’s in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia…
Recently for example:

In 1978, when we were at the coolest of the period, I flew from Chicago to Houston, Texas and did not get to see the Houston or anything else until the next day.
On the way into the area, we flew around two huge dust clouds and one of these or a third descended on Houston as we landed. It must have been global warming lurking in the cool. Who would have guessed?


Yes, it is true, the Earth has twice as much dirt as it had in the 19th century. That is why farming is so much more productive now. Really, it’s true. Just look at how deep the archeological sites are when they find remains from the 19th century.
And let’s not forget how those dust storms in Iraq during the invasion and occupation wiped out whole divisions. Doomsday indeed. Well, technically, it wiped out the visibility for whole divisions. Details, details.

We should recognize that the weather people on Fox News pointed out that dust clouds and storms are typical weather in the Arizona region, ranging from dust devils to dust storms. Good for them for being honest.


So the dust-storm in Melbourne just before Black Friday 1939 was caused by AGW?

I just started my 20th year in southern Arizona, and the dust storm I had to drive home through in West Phoenix last night was no worse than a half dozen others I’ve experienced since 1991.
My parents lived through many of them in West Texas in the 40s and 50s, I wonder what caused those …

BigBadBear said: “Pretty sure I saw a plane fly through that unscathed on that video, which makes even more of a mockery of the total shutdown of British and European airspace when the Icelandic volcano ”
Well, dust is not the same as volcanic dust, which can fuse and coat the blades of the jet engines and either trash their power or shut them down altogether. Normal dust is effectively a bit drier and less destructive.

Alexander Feht says:
July 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm
“Why are we surprised that many people believe in “climate change” being the cause of every natural disaster? Their ancestors believed for thousands of years that some omniscient and omnipotent Old Man in the Sky is the cause of everything (including all the catastrophes, diseases, sufferings, tribulations, and evil deeds).
Stupidity, gullibility, and conformism are obviously genetically inherited traits. One couldn’t be a good slave if he or she wouldn’t believe in what was being told “from above.”
I assume you’re including likes of Isaac Newton, John Jay, René Descartes, John Adams and Max Planck in that group people being bred to stupidity and gullibility? Martin Luther being a noted conformist………..


In any event it’s just Mother Nature re-arranging the furniture. No biggie, just another item on the honey-do list. 🙂

I figured they would link it to AGW, but I was more interested in the pictures. Think about it – just a few years ago (within my lifetime) those pictures would have been rare as hen’s teeth! And most of us would not have been able to appreciate the awesomeness of nature! I want to frame that one and put it along side my satellite of hurricane Floyd (basically taking up the lower half of the east coast).

Andrew Parker

There is another “doomsday” aspect to these dust storms — valley fever (coccidioidomycosis). It is endemic to the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts and the inland valleys of California. The region between Phoenix and Tucson has particularly high rates of infection (Germany lodged a protest through the Red Cross in WWII because a prisoner of war camp was located at Casa Grande.) The spores travel in the dust, infecting humans and other animals, and inoculating new areas. Valley fever has spread from the southern central valley of California to to previously clean areas well North of Sacramento.because of dust storms. In areas with very high spore concentrations, dust does not need to be visible for you to be at risk, it is highly infective and highly virulent.

Dan in California

Sonicfrog says: July 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm
“Today, the Earth is twice as dusty as it was in the 19th-century.”
Really???? REALLY??????????
Didn’t you know that 57.6% of statistics are made up on the spot?
\ sarc off 🙂


It is probably all the dust that is reflecting the sun and keeping the temps from rising.
It all fits now!

There’s haboob born every minute, just look at the big wall of stupid blowing in from the media it’s most impressive.


Are there any published research papers on whether forest fires regionally increase the daily mean temperature?

Theo Goodwin

Sonicfrog says:
July 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm
“Today, the Earth is twice as dusty as it was in the 19th-century.”
“Really???? REALLY??????????”
Didn’t you know? Before 1850, nature was in total balance. There was no dust in the air. Rivers did not overflow their banks. Dogs and cats were friends. Then, through the Industrial Revolution, man acquired the ability to wreak havoc on nature. Today there are dust storms and all of them are caused by human activity./sarc
When is someone going to publish the Green Book of Genesis? I would really like to know about the total harmony that existed before 1850. Reading about it in drips and drabs is not enlightening.
By the way, if you are someone who actually works the land, dust storms are of no interest to you whatsoever. What interests you is where the dust came from. Of course, answering that question is always a matter of addressing local conditions. Warmista are not interested.