Spatial–temporal analysis of Aerosol Index (AI) distribution and some climatic factors: case study from Iraq, 1980–2015
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Aerosol particles represent fine particulate matter suspended in the air. These particles interact with the climate conditions (indirectly) and the radiation balance (directly) of the Earth. Iraq represents one of the aerosol hot spots in southwest Asia because of repeated dust storms that need further in-depth studies to describe and understand the dust activity. This research assesses the spatiotemporal pattern variability of the aerosol index values obtained from TOMS—OMI satellite platforms and compares it with selected surface weather factors to describe the dust phenomena over Iraq during 1980–2015. The results show a significant monthly and seasonal variability of aerosol index AI distributions between the northern and southern regions of Iraq. The monthly average AI data display maximum values during the hot summer months and minimum values in the cold winter months over the study regions. Maximum AI values occur above the southern area during March–October, reducing gradually towards the north, whereas the minimum values are recorded between December and February. The highest values of AI distribution from the TOMS satellite were 2.06, 1.93, and 1.87 and for the OMI sensor were 2.32, 2.27 and 2.24 in June above the northern, central and south regions, respectively, with lower values in December. The correlation between aerosol index and relative humidity, air temperatures, wind velocity and rainfall can be employed effectively to estimate and predict dust activity. This study can enhance awareness and understanding of atmospheric dust activity over Iraq and the Middle East region.
KeywordsAerosol index distribution TOMS and OMI satellites Humidity Temperature Wind velocity Rainfall
The researchers are thankful to NASA agency for providing Aerosol Index data (https://giovanni.gsfc.nasa.gov), and the Bureau of Meteorology in Iraq for supplying weather data.
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