430 Dust Transport Over the Arabian Peninsula

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Carly A. Baumann, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and M. Garay, O. Kalashnikova, and J. Wang

Handout (12.3 MB)

Recent studies have shown that the number and severity of dust storms in Kuwait and the Arabian Peninsula have increased. Large amounts of atmospheric dust can cause significant respiratory problems, reduce visibility, and bring transportation to a standstill.

To help better understand these dust storms, images from the MISR and MODIS instruments on NASA's Terra satellite were examined to find significant dust events affecting Kuwait City and surrounding regions. Multiangle observations from MISR for a number of cases were analyzed using the MINX software application to retrieve maximum plume height and instantaneous wind direction and motion. These results were compared with ground-based meteorological observations, PM10 model results, parcel trajectories, and data from other satellite instruments, including SEVIRI on the geostationary METEOSAT satellite and the CALIOP lidar on the CALIPSO satellite.

Dust events traveling over Kuwait and the Arabian Peninsula were tracked back to the Syrian Desert and it was found that when winds became primarily northwesterly with speeds greater than 10 m/s, severe dust events were likely to occur. The maximum height of the dust layer was related to the depth of the atmospheric boundary layer, which ranged from 2 km in the spring to 5 km in the summer, with most of the dust occurring the lowest kilometer of the atmosphere where it has the greatest impact on the human population. Long-range transport was also seasonally dependent, with transport off the Peninsula determined by the direction of the monsoonal winds in the western Indian Ocean.

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