Study finds cause for shift in Middle East dust activities

A research group led by Associate Professor Jing Li from the School of Physics at China’s Peking University published an article in Science Bulletin titled “The shift of decadal trend in Middle East dust activities attributed to North Tropical Atlantic variability”. The study reveals that variability of the sea surface temperature of the North Tropical Atlantic is the primary driver of the decadal trend shift in Middle East dust activities, reports Science China Press.

The Middle East, as the world’s second-largest dust source, contributes to over 10% of the global dust emissions, with a pronounced peak during the summer season. Transported dust particles influence numerous densely populated regions, spanning from North America to South Asia, and have adverse effects on transportation, health, agriculture and the environment.

Analysis of multi-source data indicates that over the past two decades, summer dust activity in the Middle East has undergone a significant trend shift. Around 2010, the trend transitioned from a notable increase to a marked decline. The underlying causes for this shift nonetheless remained unclear. Consequently, uncovering the factors behind the trend shift and investigating the specific impact mechanisms are of great importance for the study of global climate and environmental change.
Full report on the Phys Org site