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    Drought severity and increased dust storm frequency in the Middle East: a case study from the Tigris-Euphrates alluvial plain, Central Iraq

    Al Ameri, I.D.S. and Briant, Rebecca and Engels, Stefan (2019) Drought severity and increased dust storm frequency in the Middle East: a case study from the Tigris-Euphrates alluvial plain, Central Iraq. Weather , ISSN 1477-8696. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    An increase in dust and sand storms has been experienced in Iraq over recent times and seems likely to increase further under future climate change. Iraq is now known as a highly active source region of dust. The impact of dust storms affects most of Iraq and extends to include large parts of Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Arabian-Persian Gulf. Dust storms are a regional strategic problem for arid and semi-arid regions that have an impact on many different aspects of human life. The problem has been exacerbated by high temperatures and changing precipitation distribution patterns and has resulted in many direct environmental impacts. These include agriculture, food security, rural-urban migration, changes in the pattern of land use, effects on biodiversity and negative health effects of air pollution. It is therefore important to describe dust storm frequency and determine which climatic factors are most significant in driving dust storm fluctuations in order to take the necessary measures to avoid or reduce these negative environmental effects. This paper explores the relationship between drought, wind speed and dust storms in Iraq, including their emergence, frequency and extent. Drought was determined using the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) applied to 36-year–long datasets (1977 to 2012) from four locations (Baghdad, Hai in Wasit, Diwaniyah, Nasiriyah in Thi Qar, all in central Iraq). Drought intensities have increased significantly from 2008-2012 in all weather stations, coincident with high dust frequencies. Comparison of monthly wind speed and dust variables for the four weather stations all showed statistically significant relationships, indicating that wind speed is associated with dust storms of all kinds in arid and semi-arid regions such as Central Iraq.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Stefan Engels
    Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 10:12
    Last Modified: 10 Apr 2019 16:58
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/25264

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