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GIS and Remote Sensing

Dust Generation on a Columbia Basin Farm

Aerial view of a farm in the Columbia Basin, Washington.











The Columbia Plateau of eastern Washington, northeast Oregon, and the Idaho panhandle includes soils that are susceptible to wind erosion. Urban areas of the region have experienced exceedances of allowable airborne dust as defined by the 1990 Clean Air Act; such dust is regulated as PM10, a mass concentration measurement including particles of 10 micrometers and smaller in diameter. The Columbia Plateau PM10 Project (CP3) was undertaken to address this regional air quality problem. Modeling of dust generation and transport was central to the concept of the project, and this modeling required development of appropriate data layers to be used as model inputs. Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) tools were used to create necessary data layers describing geophysical and vegetative aspects of the domain ctydem of the Columbia Plateau PM10 Project. These layers include topography, soils, vegetative cover including agricultural land uses, and miscellaneous political boundaries. These web-pages present the study domain, discuss the sources of data, and show the resulting data layers provided to CP3 modelers.

One fundamental requirement for the CP3 modeling effort is a land use or vegetative cover map. The land use requirement was approached through use of Bi-weekly Composited Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometry (AVHRR) imagery from USGS and the USDA. The basic procedure used to generate a land use data layer from the 1990 USGS/USDA Bi-weekly Composited AVHRR is discussed in “Source Area Studies Using AVHRR and GIS”, Vaughan and Frazier 1995, and resulted in the CP3 Vegetative Cover (Land Use) Map (CP3 Vegetation).