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Scientists Fear a Great Toxic Dustbowl Could Soon Emerge From the Great Salt Lake
On the shore of Great Salt Lake, Utah CNN — Like the rest of the West, Utah has a water problem. But megadrought and overconsumption aren’t just threats to wildlife, agriculture and industry here. A disappearing Great Salt Lake could poison the lungs of more than 2.5 million people. When lake levels hit historic lows in recent months, 800 square miles of lakebed were exposed – soil that holds centuries of natural and manmade toxins like mercury, arsenic and selenium. As that mud turns to dust and swirls to join some of the worst winter air pollution in the nation, scientists warn that the massive body of water could evaporate into a system of lifeless finger lakes within five years, on its way to becoming the Great Toxic Dustbowl. “This is an ecological disaster that will become a human health disaster,” warned Bonnie Baxter, director of the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. “We know about dust storms, we know about particulate pollution, we know about heavy metals and how they’re bad for humans,” she told CNN. “We see a crisis that is imminent.”
Atmospheric Science Ph.D. Student Chengfeng Feng Won Best Student Presentation Award at AMS Annual Meeting
Atmospheric Science Ph.D. student, Chengfeng Feng, advised by Professor Zhaoxia Pu, won a first-place Best Student Oral Presentation award at the 103rd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in January 2023. Feng’s presentation, “A bias correction scheme with the symmetric cloud proxy variable and its influence on assimilating all-sky GOES-16 brightness temperatures” examined an effective bias correction scheme for better assimilating all-sky NOAA geostationary satellite data into numerical weather prediction model for improved weather prediction. “I feel honored to receive this award,” Feng said. “I am very grateful to Dr. Zhaoxia Pu for supporting me in this innovative research and giving me opportunities to present my work at professional conferences.”
U Researcher to Lead Study of Clouds in Cleanest Air on Earth
A University of Utah atmospheric scientist, Gerald “Jay” Mace, is heading back to Tasmania to study clouds in a special part of Earth’s atmosphere: the Southern Ocean, which contains some of the cleanest air on Earth. Mace is the lead scientist of the Cloud And Precipitation Experiment at Kennaook (CAPE-K) is scheduled to run from April 2024 to September 2025 in northwestern Tasmania. The experiment, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, will fill in knowledge gaps about the seasonal cycle of clouds and precipitation over the Southern Ocean. As a result, these data are expected to have big impacts on regional and global climate modeling. Climate projections for the entire Earth are sensitive to interactions of aerosols, clouds and precipitation in the atmosphere over the Southern Ocean. Seasonal variations in Southern Ocean aerosol properties are well documented, but to improve the accuracy of climate models, scientists need more information about the properties of low clouds and precipitation in the region.
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The University of Utah has both historical and contemporary relationships with Indigenous peoples. Given that the Salt Lake Valley has always been a gathering place for Indigenous peoples, we acknowledge that this land, which is named for the Ute Tribe, is the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute, and Ute Tribes and is a crossroad for Indigenous peoples. The University of Utah recognizes the enduring relationships between many Indigenous peoples and their traditional homelands. We are grateful for the territory upon which we gather today; we respect Utah’s Indigenous peoples, the original stewards of this land; and we value the sovereign relationships that exist between tribal governments, state governments, and the federal government. Today, approximately 60,000 American Indian and Alaska Native peoples live in Utah. As a state institution, the University of Utah is committed to serving Native communities throughout Utah in partnership with Native Nations and our Urban Indian communities through research, education, and community outreach activities.
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2023 APPLICATION DEADLINES
Nov 1, 2022
Mar 1, 2023
Apr 1, 2023
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