Scientists, using the nation's newest and most capable aircraft for environmental research, launched a far-reaching field project to study plumes of airborne dust and pollutants that originate in Asia and journey to North America. The plumes are among the largest such events on Earth, so great in scope that scientists believe they might affect clouds and weather across thousands of miles while playing a role in global climate.
The PACDEX (Pacific Dust Experiment) project was led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. NCAR's main sponsor, the National Science Foundation (NSF), provided most of the funding. The project continued for almost two months.