Drought effect on dust storm severity and predictability

Mostafa Javadian, Ali Behrangi, and Armin Sorooshian1
Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
The University of Arizona

Dust storms are common meteorological events in arid and semi-arid regions, particularly in Southwest Iran (SWI). Here we study the relation between drought events in Iraq and dust storms in SWI between 2003 and 2018. The HYSPLIT model showed that central and southern Iraq are the main dust sources for SWI. Mean annual aerosol optical depth (AOD) analysis demonstrated that 2008 and 2009 were the dustiest years since 2003 and there is an increased frequency of summertime extreme dust events in the years 2008 and 2009. The Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) revealed that drought in Iraq significantly affects dust storms in Iran. Similarly, dramatic desiccation of Iraq wetlands has contributed to increasing fall dust events in SWI. AOD in SWI is highly correlated (-0.76) with previous-month vapor pressure deficit (VPD) over Iraq, demonstrating the potential of VPD for dust event forecasting.

1Joint Faculty, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, The University of Arizona

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