Synoptic characteristics of the spatial variability of spring dust storms over Saudi Arabia

Main Article Content

Khaled A. Al-abbasi
Abdulhaleem H. Labban
Adel M. Awad


Statistical and synoptic studies of spring dust storms over the Arabian Peninsula (AP) were performed using surface observations from 27 surface stations and meteorological data from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data set for the period from 1978 to 2008.

The study showed that, spatially, the northern and eastern AP are the most affected by dust storms and that, temporally, the study period can be divided into two subperiods before and after 1995, with a pronounced increase before 1995 and a smooth increase (decrease) after 1995 with respect to dust (dust storms) types.

The synoptic study reveals three main atmospheric systems: frontal systems over the northern region, Red Sea Trough (RST)-related systems over the western region and thermal low systems over the eastern region.

Additionally, the synoptic study shows that all of the atmospheric systems are associated with a favorable pressure (geopotential) gradient area and that the shape and strength of the maximum wind and upper-layer atmospheric regimes are suitable for completely integrating the atmospheric layers. Moreover, the southern thermal low is a common synoptic component of dust-related atmospheric systems, but its effect is particularly pronounced on the atmospheric system of the eastern region.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Sharing on:


Alobaidi M, Almazroui M, Mashat A, Jones PD (2017) Arabian Peninsula wet season dust storm distribution: regionalization and trends analysis (1983–2013). Int J Climatol 37: 1356–1373. doi:10.1002/joc.4782.

Alharbi BH, Maghrabi A, Tapper N (2013) The march 2009 dust event in Saudi

Arabia: precursor and supportive environment. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 94 (4):


Ali M.A., M. Assiri, R. Dambul, (2017)Seasonal Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) variability using satellite data and its comparison over Saudi Arabia for the period 2002-2013. Aerosol Air Qual. Res., 17, 1267-1280.

Al-Jumaily KJ, Ibrahim M K (2013) Analysis of synoptic situtaion of dust stroms in Iraq. International Journal of Energy and Environment 4: 851-858.

Almazroui M, Awad AM (2016) Synoptic regimes associated with the

eastern Mediterranean wet season cyclone tracks. Atmospheric Research

: 92–118.

Archer D, Winguth A, Lea D, Mahowald N (2000) What caused the glacial/interglacial atmospheric pCO2 cycles?. Rev Geophys 38 (2): 159–189.

Awad AM, Mashat AS (2016) Synoptic Characteristics of Spring Dust Days over Northern Saudi Arabia. Air Qual Atmos Health 9: 41–50

Babu CA, Jayakrishnan PR, Varikoden H (2016) Characteristics of precipitation pattern in the Arabian Peninsula and its variability associated with ENSO. Arabian Journal of Geosciences 9: 186.

Beegum SN, Gherboudj I, Chaouch N, Temimi M, Ghedira H (2018) Simulation and analysis of synoptic scale dust storms over the Arabian Peninsula. Atmos Res 199:62–81.

Butt M.J., M.E. Assiri, M.A. Ali, (2017) Assessment of AOD variability over Saudi Arabia using MODIS Deep Blue products Environ. Pollut., 231, 143−153.

Das S, Dey S, Dash SK, Giuliani G, Solmon F (2015) Dust aerosol feedback on the Indian summer monsoon: sensitivity to absorption property. J Geophys Res Atmos 120 (18): 9642–9652.

Dentener FJ, Carmichael GR, Zhang Y, Lelieveld J, Crutzen PJ (1996) Role of mineral dust aerosol as a reactive surface in the global troposphere. J Geophys Res 101 (D17): 22869–22889.

Dickerson RR, Kondragunta S, Stenchikov G, Civerolo KL, Doddridge BG, Holben B (1997) The impact of aerosols on solar UV radiation and photochemical smog. Science 278: 827–830.

El Kenawy AM, McCabe MF (2016) A multi-decadal assessment of the performance of gauge- and model-based rainfall products over Saudi Arabia:

climatology, anomalies and trends. International Journal of Climatology 36:


El Kenawy AM, McCabe MF, Stenchikov G, Raj J (2014) Multi-decadal classification of synoptic weather types, observed trends and links to rainfall characteristics over Saudi Arabia. Frontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering 2: 37.

El-Sabh MI, MurtyTS (1989)Storm surges in the Arabian Gulf. Natural Hazards

: 371–385.

Francis, D., Alshamsi, N., Cuesta, J., Isik, A.G., Dundar, C., 2019. Cyclogenesis and

density currents in the Middle East and the associated dust activity in September

Geosciences 2019 (9), 376.

Garzanti E, Vermeesch P, Andò S, Vezzoli G, Valagussa M, Allen K, Kadi KA, Al-Juboury AIA (2013) Provenance and recycling of Arabian desert sand. Earth Sci Rev 120: 1–19.

Gates W L (1961) Static stability in the atmosphere. J. Meteor., 18, 526-533.

Giles J (2005) The dustiest place on Earth. Nature 434: 816–819.

Goudie AS, Middleton NJ (2001) Saharan dust storms: nature and consequences. Earth- Science Reviews 56: 179–204.

Goudie AS, Middleton NJ (2006) Desert Dust in the Global System.

Heidelberg Springer.

Hamidi M, Kavianpour MR, Shao Y (2013) Synoptic analysis of dust storms in the Middle East. Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences 49: 279–286.

Hamidi M, Kavianpour MR, Shao Y (2014) Numerical simulation of dust events in the Middle East. Aeolian Res 37: 59–70.

Hamidi M, Kavianpour MR, Shao Y (2017) A quantitative evaluation of the 3-8 July 2009 Shamal dust storm. Aeolian Res 24: 133–143.

Hamidi M (2019 Atmospheric Investigation of Frontal Dust Storms in Southwest. Asia Asia-Pacific. J Atmos Sci 55: 177.

Hannachi A, Awad A, Ammar K (2011) Climatology and classification of Spring Saharan cyclone tracks. Clim Dyn 37:473–491.

Hasanean HM, Almazroui M (2016) Teleconnections of the tropical sea surface temperatures to the surface air temperature over Saudi Arabia in summer season. International Journal of Climatology 37: 1040–1049.

Hermida L, Merino A, Sánchez JL, Fernández-González S, García-Ortega E, López L (2018) Characterization of synoptic patterns causing dust outbreaks that a ect the Arabian Peninsula. Atmos Res 199: 29–39.

Johnson RH (2003) Thermal low. In: Holton J, Pyle J, Curry JA (eds) Encyclopedia of atmospheric science. Academic Press, London, United Kingdom, pp 2269–2273

Jin Z, Sun M (2016) An initial study on climate change fingerprinting using the reflected solar spectra. J Clim 29 (8): 2781–2796.

Kalnay E, Kanamitsu M, Kistler R, Collins W, Deaven D, Gandin L, Iridell M, Saha S, White G, Woollen J, Zhu Y,Chelliah M, Ebisuzaki W, Higgins W, Janowiak J, Mo KC, Ropolewski C, Wang J, Leetma A, Reynolds R, Jenne R, Joseph D (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year Reanalysis project. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77: 437–471.

Kistler R, Collins W, Saha S, White G, Woollen J, Kalnay E, Chelliah M, Ebisuzaki W, Kanamitsu M, Kousky V, vandenDool H, Jenne R, Fiorino M (2001) The NCEP/NCAR 50-year Reanalyses: Monthly CD-ROM and documentation. Bull Am MeteorolSoc 82: 247–267.

Kutiel H, Furman H (2003) Dust storms in the middle east: sources of origin and their temporal characteristics. Indoor Built Environ 12:419–426.

Martin JH (1991) Iron still comes from above. Nature 353: 123.

Martin RV, Jacob DJ, Yantosca RM, Chin M, Ginoux P (2003) Global and regional decreases in tropospheric oxidants from photochemical effects of aerosols. J Geophys Re. 108 (D3): 4097. doi:10.1029/2002JD002622.

Mashat AS, Awad AM (2015) Synoptic characteristics of the primary widespread winter dust patterns over the northern Arabian Peninsula. Air Qual Atmos Health DOI 10.1007/s11869-015-0357-0.

Mashat AS, Alamoudi AO, Awad AM, Assir ME (2017) Synoptic characteristics of dusty spring days over central and eastern Saudi Arabia. Air Qual Atmos Health 10: 307.

Mashat AS, Alamoudi AO, Awad AM, Assiri ME (2018) Seasonal variability and synoptic characteristics of dust cases over southwestern Saudi Arabia. Int J Climatol 38: 105–124. doi:10.1002/joc.5164

Mashat AS, Alamoudi AO, Awad AM, Assiri ME (2019) Monthly and seasonal variability of dust events over northern Saudi Arabia. Int J Climatol

Mashat AS, Awad AM, Assiri ME, Labban AH (2020) Synoptic Pattern of the Red Sea Trough Associated with Spring Dust over the Northern and Western Arabian Peninsula. Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics (accepted).

Middleton NJ (1986) Ageography of dust storms in Southwest Asia. J Climatol 6: 183–196.

Mohalfi S, Bedi HS, Krishnamurti TN, Cocke SD (1998) Impact of snortwave radiative effects of dust aerosols on the summer season heat low over Saudi Arabia. Mon Weather Rev 126: 3153–3168.

Nabavi SO, Haimberger L, Samimi C (2016) Climatology of dust distribution over West Asia from homogenized remote sensing data. Aeolian Res 21: 93–107.

Notaro M, Alkolibi F, Fadda E, Bakhrjy F (2013) Trajectory analysis of Saudi Arabian dust storms. J Geophys Res Atmos 118: 6028–6043.

Notaro M, Yu Y, Kalashnikova OV (2015) Regime shift in Arabian dust activity,

triggered by persistent fertile crescent drought. J Geophys Res Atmos 120 (19):


Prakash PJ, Stenchikov G, Kalenderski S, Osipov S, Bangalath H (2015) The impact of dust storms on the Arabian Peninsula and the Red Sea. Atmos Chem Phys 15: 199–222, doi:10.5194/acp-15-199, 2015.

Perrone IJ (1981) Winter Shamal in the Persian Gulf, Naval Environmental Prediction Research Facility, Monterey, Calif. Technical Report I.R. 79-06.

Prospero J (1999) Long-term measurements of the transport of African mineral dust to the southeastern United States: implications for regional air quality. J Geophys Res 104 (D13): 15917–15927.

Prospero JM, Ginoux P, Torres O, Nicholson SE, Gill TE (2002) Environmental characterization of global sources of atmospheric soil dust identified with the Nimbus 7 total ozone mapping spectrometer (TOMS) absorbing aerosol product. Rev Geophys 40 (1). doi:10.1029/2000RG000095.

Rashki A, Arjmand M, Kaskaoutis D (2017) Assessment of dust activity and dust-plume pathways over Jazmurian Basin, southeast Iran. Aeol Res 24-1: 145-160.

Rashki A, Kaskaoutis DG, Mofidic A, Minvielled F, Chiapellod I, Legrandd M, Dumkae UC (2019) Effects of Monsoon, Shamal and Levar winds on dust accumulation over the Arabian Sea during summer – The July 2016 case. Aeol Res 36: 27–44.

Rezazadeh M, Irannejad P, Shao Y (2013) Climatology of the Middle East dust

events. Aeolian Res 10: 103–109.

Saaroni H, Ziv B, Bitan A, Alpert P (1998) Easterly wind storms over Israel. Theoretical and Applied Climatology 59: 61–77.

Shao Y, Wyrwoll KH, Chappell A, Huang J, Lin Z, McTainsh GH, Yoon S (2011) Dust cycle: an emerging core theme in Earth system science. Aeolian Res 2 (4): 181–204.

Sissakian VK, Al-Ansari N, Knutsson S (2013) Sand and dust storm events in Iraq. Journal of Natural Science 5(10): 1084–1094.

Tanaka TY, Chiba M (2006) A numerical study of the contributions of dust source regions to the global dust budget. Global Planetary Changes. 52: 88–104.

Washington, R., Todd, M., Middleton, N.J. and Goudie, A.S. (2003). Dust-storm source areas determined by the total ozone monitoring spectrometer and surface

observations. Ann. Assoc. Am. Geogr. 93: 297–313.

Washington R, Todd MC (2005) Atmospheric controls on mineral dust emission from the Bod´el´e Depression, Chad: The role of the low level jet. Geophys Res Lett 32: L17701, doi: 10.1029/2005GL023597.

WMO (2005) Climate and Land Degradation. World Meteorological Organization: Geneva, Switzerland.

Yu Y, Notaro M, Liu Z, Wang F, Alkolibi F, Fadda E, Bakhrjy F (2015) Climatic controls on the interannual to decadal variability in Saudi Arabian dust activity: toward the development of a seasonal dust prediction model. J Geophys Res 120: 1739–1758.

Yu Y, Notaro M, Kalashnikova OV, Garay MJ (2016) Climatology of summer Shamal wind in the Middle East. J Geophys Res 120.


Zoljoodi M, Didevarasl A, Saadatabadi AR (2013) Dust events in the western

parts of Iran and the relationship with drought expansion over the dust-source areas in Iraq and Syria. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences 3(03): 321–336.