A comprehensive study of severe dust storms in the eastern part of Iran using numerical modeling, satellite imagery and observation data

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. in Climatology, Lorestan University, Khorramabad, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Climatology, Lorestan University, Iran

3 Meteorological Expert of East Azarbaijan, Tabriz

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Climatology, Lorestan University, Khorramabad, Iran


Dust storms are one of the environmental problems that affect human health, air quality and the economies of the countries of the world on a large scale. The purpose of this study is the identification of the source of dust entering the east of Iran and tracking its route. Initially, using horizontal visibility data, satellite imagery, Dust Aerosol Index related to the OMPS, and AOD, the dust storms detected from 2000 until 2018 were examined. Then, the pressure data, wind direction, wind speed, geopotential heights and jet streams at various atmospheric levels were obtained from the European Meteorological Center (ECMWF) with a spatial resolution of 0.25 * 0.25. Finally, the HYSPLTE model was used to determine the origin of the storm formation. The results showed that 46.67% of the region's dust storms were local, 33.33% were transmitted, and 20% occurred concurrently. The satellite studies of the transmitted dust storms showed that they formed in southern Iraq and central Saudi Arabia and then moved to the studied area, which was compared with the results of the model. Synoptic studies also showed the synoptic origin of the storms and their being structured by northern winds, where jet streams and polar jet streams converge to provide favorable conditions for dust storms. The study of the storms formed at the site indicated that severe storms in the area could be due to the pressure gradient, cyclones and jet stream interference in the area.


  1. Alam, K., Qureshi, S., & Blaschke, T. )2011 (. Monitoring Spatio-temporal aerosol patterns over Pakistan based on MODIS, TOMS and MISR satellite data and a HYSPLIT model. Atmos. Environ, 45, 4641–4651.
  2. Aljani, B., & Raispour, K. (2011).Statistical Synoptical analysis of Sand Storms in SE Iran (Study Case: Region of Sistan). Journal of Arid Regions Geographics Studies, 5,132-107, (in Farsi).
  3. Arimoto.R. (2002). Relationships to source, troposphere chemistry, transport and deposition. Earth science, 30.
  4. Ashrafi, Kh., Shafiepour Motlagh, M., & Aslamand, A. (2012). Investigation of Dust Storm Routes on Iran Using Numerical Modeling and Satellite Imaging. Environmental Science and Engineering, 0, 3-12, (in Farsi).
  5. Bayat, A., Masoumi, A., & Khalesifard, H.R. )2010(. Retrieval of atmospheric optical parameters from ground-based sun-photometer measurements for Zanjan, Iran. Atmos. Measur. Techn, Discuss. 3, 2633–2649.
  6. Draxler, R. & Hess, G.D. (1998). An overview of the HYSPLIT_4 modeling system for trajectories, dispersion and Deposition. Australian Meteorological Magazine, 47, 295-308.
  7. Engelstaedter S., Washington R., & Tegen I. (2006). North African dust emissions and transport. Earth Science Review, 79, 73 –100, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2006.06.004.
  8. Goudie, A.S. (2009). Dust storms: Recent Developments. Journal of Environmental Management,90, 89 – 94.
  9. Goudie, A.S. )1983(. Dust storms in space and time. Prog. Phys. Geogr. 7, 502–530.
  10. Goudie, A.S., Middleton, N.J. )1992(. The changing frequency of dust storms through time. Climate Change, 20, 197–223.
  11. Hamidi, M. (2019). Atmospheric Investigation of Frontal Dust Storms in Southwest Asia. Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences. 55,177–193. doi:10.1007/s13143-018-0083-2.
  12. Hamidi, M., Kavianpour, M.R., & Shao, Y. (2014). Numerical simulation of dust events in the Middle East. Aeolian Res. 37, 59–70
  13. Hamidi, M., Kavianpour, M.R., & Shao, Y. (2017).  A quantitative evaluation of the 3-8 July 2009 Shamal dust storm. Aeolian Res. 24, 133–143.
  14. Kaskaoutis, D.G., Kalapureddy, M.C.R., Krishna Moorthy, K., Devara, P.C.S., Nastos, P.T., Kosmopoulos, P.G., & Kambezidis, H.D. )2010 (. Heterogeneity in premonsoon aerosol types over the Arabian Sea deduced from shipboard measurements of spectral AODs. Atmos. Chem. Phys, 10, 4893–4908.
  15. Kim, D., Chin, M., Yu, H., Eck, T.F., Sinyuk, A., Smirnov, A., & Holben, B.N. )2011(. Dust optical properties over North Africa and Arabian Peninsula derived from the AERONET dataset. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. 11, 20181–20201.
  16. Lashkari, H.(2008). Synoptic analysis of the incidental cold wave in Iran. Natural Geography Research, 66, 18 - 1. (in Farsi)
  17. Lin, G. ( 2002). dust storm in the 1930 and sand storm in 1999 in the USA, Global Alarm; dust and sand storm from the world dry lands. 160-170.
  18. Maghrabi, A., Alharbi, B., & Tapper, N. )2011(. Impact of the March 2009 dust event in Saudi Arabia on aerosol optical properties, meteorological parameters, sky temperature and emissivity. Atmos. Environ. 45, 2164–2173.
  19. McTainish, G.H, & Pitbaldo, J.R. (1987). Dust storms and related phenomena measured from meteorological records in Australia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 12, 415–424
  20. Mei, D., Xiushan, L., Lin, S., & Ping, W. (2008). A Dust Storm Process Dynamic Monitoring with Multi-Temporal MODIS data, The International Archives of the Photogrammetry. Remote Sens Spatial Info Sci, 37, 965-970
  21. Menga, L., Yanga, X ., Zhaob, T ., Hea, Q.,  Lua, H., , Mamtimina, A., Huoa, W., Yanga, F., & Liu, Ch. (2019). Modeling study on three-dimensional distribution of dust aerosols during a dust storm over the Tarim Basin, Northwest China, Atmospheric Research, 218 , 285–295.
  22. Middleton, N. J. (1986). A geography of dust storms in South-West Asia. Journal of Climatology, 6(2), 183–196.
  23. Middleton, N.J., & Goudie, A.S.)2001(. Saharan dust: sources and trajectories. Trans. Inst. Br. Geogr, 26, 165–181.
  24. Middleton, N.J., & U. Kang. (2017). Sand and dust storms: Impact mitigation. Sustainability, 9, 1053. doi.org/10.3390/su9061053.
  25. Middleton, N.J. )1986(. Dust storms in the Middle East. J. Arid Environ. 10, 83–96.
  26. Mohammadi, F., Kamali, S., & Eskandari, M. (2015). Tracing Dust Sources in Different Atmosphere Levels of Tehran Using Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) Model, Geography and Environmental Hazards, 16, 39-54 (in Farsi).
  27. Mohammadi, G.H. (2015). Analysis of Atmospheric Mechanisms in Dust Transport over West of Iran., Ph.D, Tabriz University, p 142, (in Farsi).
  28. Mohammadpour Penchah, M. R., Memarian, M. H., & Mirrokni, S. M. (2016). Modeling and Analysis of Dust Storms of Yazd Province Using Numerical Models. Geography and Environmental Hazards, 3(12), 67 – 83, (in Farsi).
  29. Natsagdari, L.D., & Jugder, Y.S. (2002). Analysis of dust storms observed. Mongolia during, 12, 1937-1999.
  30. Petzold, A., Rasp, K., Weinzierl, B., Esselborn, M., Hamburger, T. & Dornbrack, A. (2009). Saharan dust absorption and refractive index from aircraft-based observation during SAMUM2006. Tellus, 61, 118–130.
  31. Prospero, J.M., Blades, E., Naidu, R., Mathison, G., Thani, H., & Lavoie, M.C.)2008(. Relationship between African dusts carried in the Atlantic trade winds and surges in pediatric asthma attendances in the Caribbean. Int. J. Biometeorol, 52, 823–832.
  32. Rezazadeh, M., Irannejad, P., Shao, Y. (2013). Climatology of the Middle East dust events. AeolianResearch 10, 103-109.
  33. Romanoff. B, (1961), Dust storms in Gobi an Zone of Mongolia, The First PRC- Mongolia Workshop on climate change in arid and semi - arid Region over the Central Asia, pp : 21.
  34. Rostami, D., &  Hosseini, S. A. (2018). Analysis and Tracking Dust Phenomenon in South and Southeast of Iran by using HYSPLIT Model and the Principles of Remote Sensing. Journal of Spatial Analysis Environmental Hazards, 5, 103-119 (in Farsi).
  35. Rousseau, D.D., Duzer, D., Etienne, J.L., Cambon, G., Jolly, D., Ferrier, J. & Schevin, P. (2004). Pollen record of rapidly changing air trajectories to the North Pole. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109.
  36. Salazar, C., Alvarez, C., Silva, H.A. & Dorantes, C. (1994). Radioactivity in air around nuclear facilities in Mexico. Environmental International, 20,747-756.
  37. Shao, Y., & Dong, C.H. (2006). A review on East Asian Dust storm Climate, Modeling and monitoring. Global and Planetary Change, 52, 1-22.
  38. Smirnov, A., Holben, B.N., Dubovic, O., O’Neill, N.T., Eck, T.F., Westphal, D.L., Goroth, A.K., Pietras, C., & Slutsker, I. )2002(. Atmospheric aerosol optical properties in the Persian Gulf. J. Atmos. Sci, 59, 620–634.
  39. Stohl, A. (1998). Computation, accuracy and applications of trajectories - a review and bibliography. Atmospheric Environment. 32, 947-966.
  40. Washington, R., Todd, M.C., Middleton, N.J., 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.
  41. Wilkerson,W.D. (1991). Dust and Sand Forecasting In Iraq and Adjoining Countries, AWS/TN—91.001, Air Weather Service, Scott Air Force Base, IL, 72 pp. [Available from, USAF Environmental Technical Application Center, Scott Air Force Base, IL 62225 ـ 5008].
  42. Xu, X., Levy,J K., Zhaohui,L., & Hong, Ch. (2006). An investigation of sand–dust storm events and land surface characteristics in China using NOAA NDVI data, Global and Planetary Change, 52 , 182–196.
  43. Yang,Y., Squires ,V., & Lu, Q. (2001).Global alarm: dust and sandstorms from the world's drylands. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Bangkok, 345.
  44. Zoljoodi, M., Didevarasl, A., & Saadatabadi, AR.(2013). Dust events in thewestern parts of Iran and the relationship with drought expansion over the dust-source areas in Iraq and Syria. Atmos Clim Sci, 03,321–36.