3 years ago

Simulation and analysis of synoptic scale dust storms over the Arabian Peninsula

Dust storms are among the most severe environmental problems in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. The predictability of seven dust events, viz. D1: April 2–4, 2014; D2: February 23–24, 2015; D3: April 1–3, 2015; D4: March 26–28, 2016; D5: August 3–5, 2016; D6: March 13–14, 2017 and D7:March 19–21, 2017, are investigated over the Arabian Peninsula using a regionally adapted chemistry transport model CHIMERE coupled with the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. The hourly forecast products of particulate matter concentrations (PM10) and aerosol optical depths (AOD) are compared against both satellite-based (MSG/SEVRI RGB dust, MODIS Deep Blue Aerosol Optical Depth: DB-AOD, Ozone Monitoring Instrument observed UV Aerosol Absorption Index: OMI-AI) and ground-based (AERONET AOD) remote sensing products. The spatial pattern and the time series of the simulations show good agreement with the observations in terms of the dust intensity as well as the spatiotemporal distribution. The causative mechanisms of these dust events are identified by the concurrent analyses of the meteorological data. From these seven storms, five are associated with synoptic scale meteorological processes, such as prefrontal storms (D1 and D7), postfrontal storms of short (D2), and long (D3) duration types, and a summer shamal storm (D6). However, the storms D4 and D6 are partly associated with mesoscale convective type dust episodes known as haboobs. The socio-economic impacts of the dust events have been assessed by estimating the horizontal visibility, air quality index (AQI), and the dust deposition flux (DDF) from the forecasted dust concentrations. During the extreme dust events, the horizontal visibility drops to near-zero values co-occurred withhazardous levels of AQI and extremely high dust deposition flux (250μgcm2 day1).

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0169809516307293

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