The Influence of Atmospheric Aerosols on Air Quality Status of the Egyptian Nile Delta

Friday, 19 December 2014
Hesham Mohamed El-Askary, Chapman Univ, Orange, CA, United States and Ashraf Zakey, The Egyptian Meteorological Authority, Cairo, Egypt
Due to the combination of natural and anthropogenic sources of emission over the Nile Delta region, the air quality status is very poor and has a significant health hazards impacts on the population.  Here we focused on the optical and chemical characterizations of atmospheric aerosols in the Nile Delta using the online integrated Environmental-Climate Aerosols model (EnvClimA) during a 10 year period 2000-2010. Observations from MODIS and SeaWiFS measurements supplemented by CALIPSO and some ground-based data from AERONET, are used to validate the EnvClimA model and to illustrate the aerosol characteristics and their sources. CALIPSO measurements were used to characterize the vertical structure of aerosols and their shapes (spherical and non-spherical) for major dust storms and biomass burning events. In this study we discussed the synoptic patterns and features, which are associated with either the dust storm or high pollution events. We used MODIS derived aerosol parameters to study seasonal changes in aerosol parameters due to the influence of dust storms, anthropogenic pollution and biomass (crop residue) burning. MODIS derived deep blue AOD provided better representation of aerosol loading over north Africa (Sahara region) along with dark-target AOD and related parameters. AERONET data provided aerosol optical depth, angstrom, fine mode fraction, size fraction, volume, effective radius, refractive index, single scattering albedo, and radiative forcing during different seasons dominated by dust storms, anthropogenic pollution and biomass burning (black cloud phenomena).  The results indicated that the observed AOD decreases in the summer and increases again in the fall due to agricultural burning events. Ground-based AERONET data support the “Dark Product” MODIS retrievals, as they typically show a fall peak in the 500 nm region. The number of dust distribution frequencies over Egypt has more frequency in the southeast and northwest of Egypt (5-7.5 days/year) while it decreases over Sinai Peninsula with 4-7 days/year. The meteorological data from NCEP reanalysis and the HYSPLIT model were used to identify major aerosol transport pathways over the study area. The pathways are clustered into seasonal low and high (polluted: dust or biomass or anthropogenic) aerosol days.