Thomas E Gill

Thomas E Gill
University of Texas at El Paso | UTEP · Department of Earth Environmental and Resource Sciences

Ph.D., UC Davis

About

163
Publications
44,981
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
9,910
Citations
Citations since 2017
64 Research Items
4355 Citations
20172018201920202021202220230200400600800
20172018201920202021202220230200400600800
20172018201920202021202220230200400600800
20172018201920202021202220230200400600800
Introduction
Dr. Gill is a Professor of Earth, Environmental and Resource Sciences and Environmental Science & Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He was previously affiliated with Texas Tech University, the USDA-ARS, and UC Davis (where he earned a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences and Resources). Specialties: Aeolian processes (especially dust), aerosols, salt lakes/dry lakes/playas, deserts/drylands, salts/evaporites, trace elements, atmosphere/lithosphere interaction, earth system science
Additional affiliations
August 2004 - August 2015
University of Texas at El Paso
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
June 1998 - August 2004
Texas Tech University
Position
  • Researcher
Description
  • Research Associate (1998- 2000) Research Assistant Professor (2000- 2004)
January 1996 - December 2005
Texas Tech University
Position
  • Adjunct Professor
Education
January 1985 - September 1995
University of California, Davis
Field of study
  • Earth Sciences and Resources

Publications

Publications (163)
Article
Full-text available
Coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) has been a known health threat in the United States (US) since the 1930s, though not all states are currently required to report disease cases. Texas, one of the non-reporting states, is an example of where both historical and contemporary scientific evidence define the region as endemic, but we don’t know disease...
Article
Full-text available
Lordsburg Playa, a dry lakebed in the Chihuahuan Desert of southwestern New Mexico (USA), is crossed by Interstate Highway 10 (I-10). Dust from the playa threatens highway safety and has caused dozens of fatal accidents. Two numerical models—the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Single-Event Wind Erosion Evaluation Program (SWEEP) and the American M...
Article
Dry playa surfaces can be extremely vulnerable to disturbance which breaks their surface crusts resulting in increased aeolian sand and dust emissions. Trampling by livestock and motor vehicles is an important source of this disturbance. The Hamoun Lakes in the Sistan region of Iran are a major source area of dust storms which are causing damage to...
Article
Full-text available
We discuss several issues raised by Comrie (2021), which uses a crowdsourced dataset to study dust storms and coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever). There is inconsistency in the term “dust storm” used by science communities. The dust data from NOAA Storm Events Database are from diverse sources, unsuitable for assessing dust-coccidioidomycosis relatio...
Article
Full-text available
Inflatable bounce houses, also known as portable inflatable amusement devices, are safety hazards when they are dragged, blown over, or lofted by winds. We have documented 132 cases of wind-related bounce house incidents worldwide for the years 2000-2021 that caused at least 479 injuries and at least 28 deaths. Over three-quarters of these incident...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Abstract Lordsburg Playa, a dry lakebed in the Chihuahuan Desert of southwestern New Mexico, is crossed by Interstate 10 (I-10). Clouds of dust blowing from the playa onto the highway represent an acute traffic safety hazard, making I-10 at Lordsburg Playa the deadliest stretch of highway in the United States for dust hazard. Metals contained in Lo...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, Earth system sciences are urgently calling for innovation on improving accuracy, enhancing model intelligence level, scaling up operation, and reducing costs in many subdomains amid the exponentially accumulated datasets and the promising artificial intelligence (AI) revolution in computer science. This paper presents work led by t...
Article
Full-text available
Seven sediment cores from Rimrock Lake (n = 4) and Hay Lake (n = 3) playas (Harney Basin, northwest Great Basin, Oregon, USA) were used to characterize their stratigraphic relationships through time. End-member mixing analysis, conducted on grain-size distributions, identified five end-members (EM), which explain 97.23% of total variance across all...
Preprint
Full-text available
The risks associated with airborne soil particles (dust) are often underappreciated, and the gap between the knowledge pool and public awareness can be costly for society. This study reviews the emission, chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of dust and its effects on human and environmental health and safety in the Americas. American...
Article
Full-text available
The Southwestern USA has been identified as one of the most persistent dust-producing regions of North America, where exposure to inhalable particulate matter (PM10) originating from desertic landscape during dust events/dust exposures (DEs) can reach hazardous levels. El Paso, Texas’s ambient air has reached hazardous levels of PM10 from dust with...
Article
Full-text available
Many grass-dominated ecosystems in dryland regions have experienced increasing woody plant density and abundance during the past century. In many cases, this process has led to land degradation and declines in ecosystem functions. An example is the Chihuahuan Desert in the southwestern United States, which experienced different stages of shrub encr...
Article
Full-text available
Driven by erodible soil, hydrological stresses, land use/land cover (LULC) changes, and meteorological parameters, windblown dust events initiated from Lordsburg Playa, New Mexico, United States, threaten public safety and health through low visibility and exposure to dust emissions. Combining optical and radar satellite imagery products can provid...
Article
Full-text available
Recent observations reveal that dust storms are increasing in the western USA, posing imminent risks to public health, safety, and the economy. Much of the observational evidence has been obtained from ground-based platforms and the visual interpretation of satellite imagery from limited regions. Comprehensive satellite-based observations of long-t...
Article
To realize the environmental impacts of mineral dust from different sources, it is necessary to develop aerosol generation systems that can mimic the processes of aerosolization of sediments into dusts under controlled laboratory settings. Current laboratory dust generation systems would benefit from a critical evaluation of the mechanisms by which...
Article
Atomic chlorine (Cl•) affects air quality and atmospheric oxidizing capacity. Nitryl chloride (ClNO2) - a common Cl• source-forms when chloride-containing aerosols react with dinitrogen pentoxide (N2O5). A recent study showed that saline lakebed (playa) dust is an inland source of particulate chloride (Cl-) that generates high ClNO2. However, the u...
Article
Full-text available
Dust sources have been revealed through remote sensing, first regionally by ~1 • resolution sensors (TOMS), then at sub-basin scale by moderate-resolution sensors (MODIS). Sensors with higher spatial resolution until recently were poorly temporally-resolved, precluding their use for systematic investigations of sources. Now, "CubeSat" constellation...
Article
Full-text available
For many years scientists studied the piosphere concept-a grazing gradient around a natural/artificial watering point. As is the case for other kinds of ecological studies, the method of statistical analyses applied in many publications is not always appropriate. We note there are many statistical errors and misapplication of data analysis techniqu...
Article
Full-text available
In drylands around the world, ephemeral lakes (playas) are common. Dry, wind-erodible playa sediments are potent local and regional sources of dust and PM 10 (airborne particles with diameters less than 10 μm). Dust clouds often cause sudden and/or prolonged loss of visibility to travelers on downwind roadways. Lordsburg Playa, in southwestern New...
Article
Exploring the effects of drought and land use/land cover (LULC) on aeolian dust emission is important to enhance dust models to account for anthropogenic land surface change. Hitherto, there has been no systematic effort to quantitatively estimate associations between LULC and drought with the number of dust point sources as a surrogate for emissio...
Article
Full-text available
The concept of the piosphere is important in rangeland management, wildlife management, desertification. Piosphere research describes the changes in soil, biota and fauna as a function of distance from water sources utilized by grazing animals. Piosphere research has provided a better understanding of how grazing pressure can affect local environme...
Article
White Sands (New Mexico, USA) emits gypsum dust with a unique chemical and mineralogical signature, providing an opportunity to investigate its loading and regional movement. This study tracked White Sands dust input to montane soils downwind in the northern Sacramento Mountains, and provided better understanding of the effects of gypsum dust on so...
Article
The concentration of grazing around artificial and natural watering points in an arid region produces a system known as a piosphere. This study focused on the Lajaneh Piosphere, located in a dry Zygophyllum eurypterum shrubland in north-east Iran. Vegetation and soil were sampled in Lajaneh Piosphere, to discern what amount of variation in plant sp...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ephemeral lakes (playas) at the termination of drainages are a common feature of drylands. When dry, playa sediments can be highly wind-erodible, becoming potent local and regional sources of dust and PM 10 , airborne particles with diameters less than 10 µm, causing potentially sudden loss of visibility to travelers on downwind roadways. Lordsburg...
Article
Documenting geomorphology and land use/land cover associated with the aeolian dust sources is needed to build more robust models simulating wind erosion and dust emission. It is also important to set the base for future studies aiming to quantify the effect of anthropogenic land-use change on dust emission. In this research, dust point sources were...
Article
Heavy metal contamination in the environment is detrimental to human and environmental health. Air emissions from industry, especially ore smelting and refining, are a source of heavy metal contamination that affects land and populations downwind. A smelter constructed in 1887 in El Paso, Texas, USA and later decommissioned in 1999 resulted in sign...
Article
Coarse aerosol mass (CM = PM10 − PM2.5, mass of particles with aerodynamic diameters between 2.5 and 10 μm) has important environmental and climate impacts. Examining the spatial and temporal variability of CM is important for understanding its sources and transport, evaluating its environmental impacts, and designing mitigation strategies. CM was...
Article
Full-text available
Crusted surfaces can be major sources of mineral dust emission. Quantitative understanding of dust emission from crusted surfaces is limited, because (1) theories on dust emission are not well tested for such surfaces; and (2) modelling is hampered by a lack of input data sufficient to describe the surface conditions. Combining detailed field measu...
Article
Full-text available
High concentrations of particulate matter (PM) in the air during Dust Events (DEs) are silently impacting the health of people without their awareness. It has been demonstrated that exposure to increased levels of PM can increase the susceptibility to respiratory, circulatory, mental and other diseases due to inflammation. In addition, living in a...
Article
Nitryl chloride (ClNO2), formed when dinitrogen pentoxide (N2O5) reacts with chloride-containing aerosol, photolyzes to produce chlorine radicals that facilitate the formation of tropospheric ozone. ClNO2 has been measured in continental areas; however, the sources of particulate chloride required to form ClNO2 in inland regions remain unclear. Dus...
Article
Full-text available
• Dry, ephemeral, desert wetlands are major sources of windblown sediment, as well as repositories for diapausing stages (propagules) of aquatic invertebrates. Zooplankton propagules are of the same size range as sand and dust grains. They can be deflated and transported in windstorm events. This study provides evidence that dust storms aid in disp...
Article
Full-text available
Sand dunes and other active sands generally have a low content of fine grains and, therefore, are not considered to be major dust sources in current climate models. However, recent remote sensing studies have indicated that a surprisingly large fraction of dust storms are generated from regions covered by sand dunes, leading these studies to propos...
Article
Livestock grazing changes landscape functionality, nutrient availability and soil structure and surface conditions in dryland rangelands. A piosphere is a zone of interaction among vegetation, watering point and livestock. This study uses landscape and soil indicators to evaluate the condition of the soil surface in Lajaneh piosphere, Shahrood, Ira...
Poster
Quantifying the effect of anthropogenic land use change on dust emission is a contentious issue. In this research, 1508 dust point sources were detected in the Southern High Plains and Chihuahuan Desert regions of the United States for 2001-2016, encompassing a period of extreme drought. These points were subjected to quantitative and spatio-tempor...
Article
Playas collect sediments from different transported processes, producing grain-size distributions (GSDs) reflecting changes in environment. End-member mixing analysis (EMMA) was used to derive end-members (EMs) from 256 sediment samples from Rimrock Lake (Harney Basin, Oregon, USA) and a nearby relict channel. EMMA identified six EMs representing d...
Article
Airborne dust can alter ecosystem productivity and biogeochemical cycling by enhancing atmospheric nutrient and pollutant deposition. Wet dust deposition (dust-in-rain) is less frequently quantified than dry deposition but represents a potentially significant flux to ecosystems. We quantified dust-in-rain event frequency; dust influence on rainwate...
Article
Despite the widespread media attention of chain-reaction traffic incidents and property damage caused by windblown dust in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, very few studies have provided in-depth analysis on this issue. Remote sensing and field observations reveal that wind erosion in the southwestern U.S. typically occurs in localized source a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The objective of this study is to examine the reliability of a Multiple Endmember Spectral Mixture Analysis (MESMA) approach applied to NASA reflectance measurements from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor in aim of identifying various semi-arid land-cover types across Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. MESMA provides th...
Article
Full-text available
While separated by large expanses of dry terrain unsuitable for aquatic biota, aridland waters possess high biodiversity. How aquatic micrometazoans disperse to, and colonize, these isolated ephemeral habitats are not well understood. We used a multi-faceted approach including wind tunnel and rehydration experiments, and next-generation sequencing...
Presentation
Ozonesondes are small, compact balloon borne and commonly-used instruments which provide vertical profile of ozone concentration throughout both troposphere and stratosphere. New Mexico State University in cooperation with the University of Texas at El Paso and St Edwards University launched over 50 ozonesondes from five different sites located in...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Windblown dust poses a significant hazard to highway safety. Dust contributes to chain-reactiontraffic accidents every year in the southwestern US, however, no known studies have specificallyinvestigated this issue in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. In this study, we used remotelysensed and in situ observations of land cover, soil, and vegetation...
Article
A new system is presented to sample and enable the characterization of loose erodible material (LEM) present on a soil surface, which may be susceptible for entrainment by wind. The system uses a modified MWAC (Modified Wilson and Cooke) sediment sampler connected to a corded hand-held vacuum cleaner. Performance and accuracy of the system was test...
Article
Full-text available
Climate models have consistently projected a drying trend in the southwestern United States, aiding speculation of increasing dust storms in this region. Long-term climatology is essential to documenting the dust trend and its response to climate variability. We have reconstructed long-term dust climatology in the western United States, based on a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The aerodynamic entrainment of sand and dust is determined by the atmospheric forces exerted onto the soil surface and by the soil-surface condition. If aerodynamic forces are strong enough to generate sand and dust lifting, the entrained sediment amount still critically depends on the supply of loose particles readily available for lifting. This l...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Field observations are needed to develop and test theories on dust emission for use in dust modeling systems. The dust emission mechanism (aerodynamic entrainment, saltation bombardment, aggregate disintegration) as well as the amount and particle-size distribution of emitted dust may vary under sediment supply-and transport-limited conditions. Thi...
Article
Understanding the spatial and temporal variability in fine mineral dust (FD, mineral aerosols with diameters less than 2.5 μm) and coarse aerosol mass (CM, mass of aerosols with diameters between 2.5 and 10 μm) is important for accurately characterizing and perhaps mitigating their environmental and climate impacts. The spatial and seasonal variabi...
Article
Playas emit large quantities of dust that can facilitate the activation of cloud droplets. Despite the potential importance of playa dusts for cloud formation, most climate models assume that all dust is non-hygroscopic; however, measurements are needed to clarify the role of dusts in aerosol-cloud interactions. Here, we report measurements of CCN...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
According to the American Geosciences Institute, 13% of geoscience faculty at 4-year colleges and universities are non-tenured or non-tenure track. At 2-year colleges, the percentage of adjuncts is higher. Hence many college-level classes are taught by adjuncts. While many new college faculty have little or no formal training in teaching college co...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Field observations are needed to both develop and test theories on dust emission for use in global modeling systems. The dust emission mechanism (aerodynamic entrainment, saltation bombardment, aggregate disintegration) as well as the amount and particle-size distribution of emitted dust may vary under sediment supply-and transport-limited conditio...
Article
Full-text available
Particulate matter (PM)2.5 dust concentrations (mineral particles with aerodynamic diameters less than 2.5μm) typically peak in spring and early summer at rural and remote sites across the southwestern United States. Trend analyses indicate that springtime regional mean PM2.5 dust concentrations have increased from 1995 to 2014, especially in March...
Article
The preferential dust source (PDS) scheme enables large-scale mapping of geomorphology in terms of importance for dust emissions but has not been independently tested other than at local scales. We examine the PDS qualitative conceptual model of surface emissivity alongside a quantitative measurement of dust loading from MODIS Deep Blue Collection...
Article
End-member mixing analysis (EMMA) was conducted on the grain size distributions (GSD) of 13 sediment samples collected from the main excavation block, Unit 2, of the Rimrock Draw Rockshelter, a deeply stratified, multi-component Palaeoindian rockshelter in the Harney Basin of eastern Oregon, USA. EMMA confirmed the three stratigraphic units (SU) ob...
Article
Full-text available
The White Sands complex, a National Monument and adjoining Missile Range in southern New Mexico, occupies the dry bed of an ice-age lake where an active gypsum dunefield abuts erodible playa sediments. Aerosols entrained from White Sands are sometimes visible on satellite images as distinct, light-colored plumes crossing the Sacramento Mountains to...
Chapter
Full-text available
Aeolian mineral dust is an important component of the Earth's envi-ronmental systems, playing roles in the planetary radiation balance, as a source of fertilizer for biota in both terrestrial and marine realms and as an archive for understanding atmospheric circulation and paleoclimate in the geologic past. Crucial to understanding all of these rol...
Article
Full-text available
The 2013 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Symposium on Education continued its tradition of bringing together educators, researchers, professionals, and students to share innovations in education and increase the understanding of the role of educational activities and practices to benefit all ages of learners. The 2-day symposium included 32 o...