Impacts of Climate Extremes to Interstate and Local Trucking Industries across New Mexico and Arizona

Project Dates

Extreme weather impacts our transportation system in many ways. This project focuses on dust storms, particularly as they connect to drought. One goal is to increase the safety of drivers during these events along the Interstate 10 in southwestern New Mexico, where danger from dust storms often occurs. An early warning dust forecast system could minimize the number of vehicle accidents and associated fatalities on New Mexico highways. A neural network camera study indicated an accuracy of 97% and a precision of 94% for dust storm classification utilizing a combination of hue, saturation, and value bands. Researchers successfully acquired additional instrumentation to test a new early warning system that is different from roadway information systems often installed along highways. A Vaisala CL51 ceilometer was purchased by NMDOT in 2019 to sense dust plumes as they form over the dust source areas. The instrument is currently being tested in the laboratory and will be tested outside during Summer 2020 to determine locations where it will be most useful.

This research project was highlighted in the 2019 NOAA Science Report, page 40.