Was there a Northern Dust Bowl? Evidence for heightened wind erosion and dust sources during the 1930s in the Northern Great Plains, USA.
The 1930s Dust Bowl Drought was a catastrophic event that caused widespread soil erosion and dust storms in the United States Southern Great Plains (SGP). Despite evidence for similar drought conditions and enhanced erosion, the Northern Great Plains (NGP) has been largely overlooked as a region affected by the Dust Bowl. This study compiles climatic data, dust storm reports, and dust flux data in South Dakota during the 1930s to underscore the intensity of drought conditions in the NGP. A fundamental reorganization of North American climatology drove extreme drought conditions and dust storm occurrences in South Dakota. Heightened dust activity and erosion indicate Dust-Bowllike conditions in the NGP, whereas PM10 flux data from analogous soils emphasize the susceptibility of NGP soils to erosion based on recorded windspeeds during dust storms. This evidence suggests a “Northern Dust Bowl” occurred as a separate landscape-scale response to that of the SGP Dust Bowl.