Intense winds blowing from Africa through a mountainous gap on the western Red Sea coast have led to a buildup of summer dust over the Arabian Peninsula in the past decade.
Intense winds blowing from Africa through a mountainous gap on the western Red Sea coast have led to a buildup of summer dust over the Arabian Peninsula in the past decade. This increasing dust load could have long-term health and global climatic implications.
“The Arabian Peninsula is one of the prime climatic hotspots for dust activity,” says KAUST Earth modeling specialist, Ibrahim Hoteit. Dust from the Middle East has significant effects on atmospheric heating, global atmospheric circulation patterns, regional oceanographic processes, and on the Indian summer monsoon system. Recent studies had noted increasing dust storm activity over the region, but little was known about its magnitude or long-term trends.
Hoteit and a team of scientists from KAUST and India have studied the long-term summer dust trends over the Arabian Peninsula since the beginning of the latest global climate shift in the early 1980s. They also investigated the mechanisms responsible for these trends.
They analyzed more than three decades of dust data—from 1980 to 2016—inferred from a combination of satellite observations, in addition to information on wind, surface air temperature, sea level pressure, surface soil temperatures and moisture related to the northeastern and eastern Arabian Peninsula and the southern Red Sea.
Read more at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Image: Dust plumes over the Middle East on February 22, 2008. CREDIT: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response team