Boroughani, M; Hashemi, H; Hosseini, SH; Pourhashemi, S; Berndtsson, R (2020). Desiccating Lake Urmia: A New Dust Source of Regional Importance. IEEE GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING LETTERS, 17(9), 1483-1487.

Lake Urmia (LU) in northwestern Iran has largely shrunk over the last two decades. The emerged bare, salty soil could turn into a threatening new dust source for the densely populated region around it. To quantify LU as a dust source, we examined the satellite data for 2000-2017 using an extended dust source enhancement technique. Our results indicate that the number of dust events increased with a significant inverse correlation to the lake area. We investigated over 2000 satellite images encompassing LU to find the sources of the dust. We present new satellite images showing the first strong evidence that the dried area of the lake has become an active dust source of regional importance. The critical dust sources were found close to LU. If the negative trend of LU surface area remains unchanged, more intensive and frequent dust events are expected, which will negatively impact a larger area surrounding LU.