research cited in New York Times article
posted August 18, 2011
(History) work on the Dust Bowl was discussed in a New York Times article about historical GIS.
Read the full text below or find it at:
Geoff Cunfer, a historian at the University of Saskatchewan, revisited causes of the 1930s Dust Bowl by analyzing data from all 208 counties in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas that were affected, an impossible undertaking without this system.
found that the traditional explanation of farmers' extensively plowing the land without care for environmental limits was only true in some places.
Barely plowed Southern counties also suffered from the plague of dust.
Using reports of annual precipitation, unplowed grassland, wind direction, droughts, agricultural censuses, historical studies and previous reports on dust storms - "a messy shoebox full of newspaper clippings" - Mr. Cunfer
created data sets that could be plotted on maps.
discovered that dust storms regularly occurred in the 19th century and were a natural part of plains ecology before any plowing occurred, but were "unreported and unpublicized," he