Multiple Causes of Wind Erosion in the Dust Bowl

Jeffrey Lee, Thomas E Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Dust Bowl refers to a disaster focused in the Southern Great Plains of North America during the 1930s, when the region experienced extreme wind erosion. Dry farming techniques increased soil erodibility. Drought reduced both soil cohesion, making it more erodible, and land cover, leaving the soil less protected from wind action. Low crop prices (driven by the Great Depression), extremely poor harvests (driven by drought), and lack of knowledge of regionally-appropriate tillage practices left farmers unable to implement erosion control on their land. The 1930s drought was severe, but neither unusual in the region nor extreme in length from a climatological perspective. Sea-surface temperature changes in the Atlantic and Pacific forced changes in the large-scale atmospheric circulation over North America. The result was persistent, intensifying drought within the Southern Great Plains for multiple years, causing a cascade of desiccation. Increased atmospheric dust and increased freq
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-36
JournalAeolian Research
StatePublished - Sep 25 2015


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