It was large then, but your stats show it a LOT larger.
It’s possible that if you have resided in and around this desert for a number of years even before going to Arizona, you may not be as aware of the odor as I was coming from the very far eastern portion of the country. Most of the people who seem to notice it, along with me, were those who had recently migrated or were tourists from the heartlands and the east. To our noses it was very keen and even cloying. Those who had lived there for many years admitted that they too were overwhelmed by it at first but no longer noticed it.
I do not believe it was farming areas arousing the aroma since I saw absolutely nothing indicating livestock or areas having been fertilized. The most fragranced areas were the wide open arid areas where not a building or structure was to be found for many miles. It was not as bad within the city though it was still there.
I don’t know much at all about the United States or California or how close you may live to the desert from either area. I did live (and played) on the edges of the deserts in North Africa and the smell there was not the same.
I has supposed, though never asked anyone, that this might have been the result of the ocean having long ago been located in this wider area? Perhaps it was salt residue from what was once a sea bed?