Land-Air Interaction
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This research-based community will be designed to enhance communication and collaboration among people working on soils and atmospheric processes. Atmospheric aerosols are the largest source of uncertainty in future predictions of temperature and precipitation. Additionally, respiration of particulate matter is a global human health issue which is especially true in arid regions such as El Paso. Land-air interactions are complex in that changes in the climate dramatically affect soil processes, and in turn, soil processes have significant impacts on climate. A wide range of physical (e.g., soil, physics, biology, etc.) and social (e.g., geography, sociology, economics, etc.) sciences are necessary to address questions regarding land-air interactions, especially when making predictions about future responses. We have begun with a small group of scientists and engineers focusing on the physical and chemical processes surrounding mineral dust transportation and transformation in the El Paso region. In the future, we look to add individuals who are interested in the climate and health implications of these particles as well as the societal implications of potential changes in land-air dynamics.


Shorter term (i.e., 1-2 years) goals include connecting with other physical and social scientists to discuss the state of knowledge and outline important research questions. These discussions should lead to submission of proposals for research funding of large center grants and smaller subsets of collaborative proposals. Long term (i.e., 5 years), we would like to establish a network of land-air interaction centers that can combine data from a spectrum of disciplines on the generation, transport, fate and impacts of atmospheric aerosols, particularly mineral dusts. This network will likely begin within the U.S. Southwest where numerous organizations and individuals already focus on this problem. Once a regional network is established, this network could go global in a similar manner to the growth of the Critical Zone Observatory Network that examines processes from the bedrock to the canopy. This land-air network could potentially connect with the CZO network and add the important component of land-air interactions. Ultimately, the community could engage with the public and governments to inform them of the impacts of atmospheric aerosols and work with stakeholders to form responses to this global problem.


  1. aerosol
  2. Arid lands
  3. climate
  4. human health
  5. Nanoparticle
  6. Particle transport
  7. soil
  8. Surface chemistry


  1. Energy and Environment


Kubicki, James
Science - Geological Sciences
aerosols, Computational Chemistry, environmental chemistry, reaction kinetics

Science - Physics

Science - Geological Sciences
Aeolian processes, aerosols, Air Pollution, air quality, arid lands, biogeography, climate, climatology, deserts, dust storms, earth system science, environmental geochemistry, environmental health, geomorphology, meteorology, playas/dry lakes, saline lakes/playas and evaporites, sandstorms, science education., sedimentology, trace elements, weather, X-ray spectrometry

Related Efforts

Land-Air Network
External Related Effort
Funding: None to date
Contact: James Kubicki

We would like to begin building connections among those studying soils and atmospheric aerosols, especially in arid regions.

Critical references
UTEP Resource
Thomas Gill

We have compiled a database of publications on important aspects and research questions related to land-air interactions.

Electron microprobe
UTEP Resource

The Department of Geological Sciences runs an electron microprobe facility for chemical analysis of particles.


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None specified to date.