DustWatch is a community program that monitors and reports on the extent and severity of wind erosion across Australia. It is led by scientists, with support from observers from government agencies and the community.

DustWatch aims to:

  • report on the extent and severity of wind erosion
  • raise awareness of the effects of wind erosion on the landscape
  • raise awareness of the impacts of dust on the community.

DustWatch does not report on air quality and health-related issues. See OEH 's air quality index and the NSW Department of Health.

DustWatch regions

There are two DustWatch regions in Australia.

  • The southern region is led by Dr John Leys, with support from Stephan Heidenreich and Dr Xihua Yang at OEH. They report on dust processes and monthly trends in dust activity, sourcing data from instruments and community observers.
  • The northern region is led by Professor Grant McTainsh at Griffith University. They report on dust processes and annual long-term trends in dust activity across Australia, sourcing data from Bureau of Meteorology and community observers. More information is available at the National DustWatch website.

DustWatch in NSWarea map of nrth and south-east dustwatch sections

The southern OEH DustWatch team reports monthly on dust activity in southern Australia. The monthly DustWatch reports use a range of data to build a picture of dust activity including:

  • measurements from instruments at DustWatch Nodes
  • information and images from DustWatch volunteers
  • satellite images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Rapid Response Project at the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration / Goddard Space Flight Centre (NASA/GSFC)
  • satellite-derived ground cover data from CSIRO
  • fire data from the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS)
  • meteorological data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Support for the DustWatch program

The DustWatch program relies on funding and in-kind support of many individuals and groups. We gratefully acknowledge their support.

The northern DustWatch program is funded by the University of Southern Queensland and Griffith University. It was previously funded by Caring for our Country, the National Heritage Trust, LandCare and the Desert Knowledge CRC.

The southern DustWatch program is funded in NSW by OEH and the Murray, Riverina, Central West and Western Local Land Services (LLSs), in Victoria by the North Central and Mallee Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions, in South Australia by the Eyre Peninsula NRM and in Western Australia by the Wheatbelt NRM, Northern Agricultural NRM and Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) . Other NRM bodies, landholders, community businesses and individuals provide in-kind support.

The Bureau of Meteorology provides data to DustWatch via subscription and its website. NASA/GSFC provides satellite images from the MODIS Rapid Response Project. This data is processed into a groundcover index by CSIRO. Fire data is obtained from FIRMS.

More information

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Page last updated: 14 July 2016