Karagulian, F; Temimi, M; Ghebreyesus, D; Weston, M; Kondapalli, NK; Valappil, VK; Aldababesh, A; Lyapustin, A; Chaouch, N; Al Hammadi, F; Al Abdooli, A (2019). Analysis of a severe dust storm and its impact on air quality conditions using WRF-Chem modeling, satellite imagery, and ground observations. AIR QUALITY ATMOSPHERE AND HEALTH, 12(4), 453-470.

This study presents a comprehensive analysis of an extreme dust event recorded in the Arabian Peninsula and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between 31 March and 3 April 2015. Simulations of the dust event with the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with the Chemistry module (WRF-Chem) were analyzed and verified using MSG-SEVIRI imagery and aerosol optical depth (AOD) from the recent 1-km Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) algorithm for MODIS Terra/Aqua. Data from the National Centers for Atmospheric Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) and the upper-air radiosonde observations were used to understand the synoptic of the event. In addition, the impact of the event on atmospheric and air quality conditions is investigated. The Air Quality Index (AQI) was calculated prior, during, and after the event to assess the degradation of air quality conditions. Simulated temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and surface radiation were compared to observations at six monitoring stations in the UAE giving R-2 values of 0.84, 0.63, 0.60, and 0.84, respectively. From 1 to 2 April 2015, both observations and simulations showed an average drop in temperature from 33 to 26 degrees C and radiance reduction from about 950 to 520 Wm(-2). The AOD modeled by WRF-Chem showed a good correlation with Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) measurements in the UAE with R-2 of 0.83. The AQI over the UAE reached hazardous levels during the peak of the dust event before rapidly decreasing to moderate-good air quality levels. This work is the first attempt to demonstrate the potential of using WRF-Chem to estimate AQI over the UAE along with two satellite products (MODIS-MAIAC and MSG-SEVIRI) for dust detection and tracking.