Dust Storm over the Middle East: Retrieval Approach, Source Identification, and Trend Analysis

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Ali Moridnejad1, Neamat Karimi2 and Parisa A. Ariya1, (1)McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, (2)Water Research Institute,, Department of Water Resources Research, Tehran, Iran
The Middle East region has been considered to be responsible for approximately 25% of the Earth’s global emissions of dust particles. By developing Middle East Dust Index (MEDI) and applying to 70 dust storms characterized on MODIS images and occurred during the period between 2001 and 2012, we herein present a new high resolution mapping of major atmospheric dust source points participating in this region. To assist environmental managers and decision maker in taking proper and prioritized measures, we then categorize identified sources in terms of intensity based on extracted indices for Deep Blue algorithm and also utilize frequency of occurrence approach to find the sensitive sources. In next step, by implementing the spectral mixture analysis on the Landsat TM images (1984 and 2012), a novel desertification map will be presented. The aim is to understand how human perturbations and land-use change have influenced the dust storm points in the region. Preliminary results of this study indicate for the first time that c.a., 39 % of all detected source points are located in this newly anthropogenically desertified area. A large number of low frequency sources are located within or close to the newly desertified areas. These severely desertified regions require immediate concern at a global scale. During next 6 months, further research will be performed to confirm these preliminary results.