19 Jan 2024
 | 19 Jan 2024

The Spatial and Temporal Impact of the February 26, 2023, Dust Storm on the Meteorological Conditions and Particulate Matter Concentrations Across New Mexico and West Texas

Mary C. Robinson, Kaitlin Schueth, and Karin Ardon-Dryer

Abstract. The Southwestern portions of the United States experience dust events frequently due to the arid and semi-arid environments and close proximity to multiple deserts. On February 26, 2023, a dust event was initiated in New Mexico due to strong winds aloft mixing down to the surface. The dust intensified as it moved eastward into West Texas, and turned into a dust storm (visibility < 1 km) in multiple locations. This study examined the meteorological characteristics of this dust storm using 21 meteorological stations and examines the impacts on PM2.5 and/or PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < 10 and 2.5 µm) concentrations using 19 air quality stations. The dust event lasted up to 18 hours, and locations experienced dust storm conditions from five minutes up to 65 minutes, with even zero visibility. The highest wind speed and wind gust recorded during the dust were 27.3 m s-1 and 37 m s-1 respectively. This dust had a strong impact on the air quality in the area, as very high PM values were recorded across the region, and nine of the PM stations exceeded the EPA daily threshold. The maximum hourly PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations recorded were 518.4 µg m-3 and 9,983 µg m-3 respectively. For some locations (e.g., Lubbock Texas), these high PM2.5 concentrations were the highest ever recorded, highlighting the significance of this dust storm.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Mary C. Robinson, Kaitlin Schueth, and Karin Ardon-Dryer

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-113', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-113', Allison C. Aiken, 21 May 2024
Mary C. Robinson, Kaitlin Schueth, and Karin Ardon-Dryer
Mary C. Robinson, Kaitlin Schueth, and Karin Ardon-Dryer


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Short summary
On February 26, 2023, New Mexico and West Texas were impacted by a severe dust storm. 21 meteorological stations and 19 PM2.5 and PM10 stations were used to analyze this dust storm. Dust articles were in the air for 18 hours, and dust storm conditions lasted up to 65 minutes. Hourly PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations were up to 518.4 and 9,983 µg m-3, respectively. For Lubbock, Texas the maximum PM2.5 concentrations were the highest ever recorded.