Dust Storm: From Beijing to Phoenix

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Dust storm hit Phoenix again last night. It is the fifth dust storm in Phoenix this summer. It reminds me the dust storm in Beijing.

Big wind blew the dust all over the sky and made Phoenix’s night blurer on Saturday. I was walking on the street near our apartment. The dust in the air made me feel hard to breath. The only thing in my mind was running back home, immediately.

The whole city of Phoenix was covered by the dust on Augsut 18, 2011. Photo by: Chen Hao

This weekend’s dust storms are not as severe as the previous three though. The biggest one of this summer occurred on July 5. It was a Tuesday evening. A dust wall, which was more than 1000 feet high, moved between 30 and 40 mph from one side to the other side of Phoenix. It was amazing!

When my classmate showing the video of the dust storm on YouTube, I could not imagine this was the city that I would stay for 10 month! The Washington Post quoted weather experts’ word said, “such massive dust storms only happen in Arizona, Africa’s Sahara desert and parts of the Middle East because of dry conditions and large amounts of sand.”

Video: Massive dust storm swept Phoenix on July 5, 2011.

Beijing, the city I live, also faces the problem of dust storm. It usually occurs in spring, when the weather is dry and becomes warmer. People have two major concerns about the dust storm. One is air pollution; the other one is public health. Environmental protection always becomes a hot topic while the dust storm hit Beijing and other cities in China. People argue that government should plant more trees and grass in the arid and semi-arid regions to prevent the formation of the dust storm.

Beijing's Tiananmen Square was shrouded in orange dust on March 20, 2010. Photo by: AFP

According to the Climate Institute (climate.org), “dust storms are usually the symptom of poor land management and a constant reminder of the interaction between people, the land they use and the climate. Desert is a very important source of dust storms in historical time, however, in more recent time, human behavior has created another source on the desert margin in semi-arid areas that previously were stable.”

We may notice that there are more “strange” and “extreme” weathers in recent years. People in California cannot understand why it is so “cool” in this summer. Meanwhile, people in Beijing also confused by the unprecedented rainstorms, which made road became river.

Obviously, environmental protection already becomes a global concern. No country can keep out of the affair. Every country should have a clear and responsible strategy of environmental protection. And global cooperation is also necessary.

One Comment on “Dust Storm: From Beijing to Phoenix”

  1. My first dust storm was a really interesting experience. I thought it was going to be scary, but turned out to be very fun.

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