Estimating PM10 Air Concentrations from Dust Storms in Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia


Roland R. Draxler, Dale A. Gillette, Jeffrey S. Kirkpatrick, and Jack Heller


Atmospheric Environment, 2001, Vol. 35: 4315-4330


Abstract - A model for the emission of PM10 dust has been constructed using the concept of a threshold friction velocity which is dependent on surface roughness.  Surface roughness in turn was correlated with geomorphology or soil properties for Kuwait, Iraq, part of Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.  The PM10 emission algorithm was incorporated into a Lagrangian transport and dispersion model.  PM10 air concentrations were computed from August 1990 through August 1991.  The model predicted about the right number of dust events over Kuwait (events occur 18% of the time).  The model results agreed quantitatively with measurements at four locations in Saudi Arabia and one in Kuwait for one major dust event (>1000 μg/m3).  However,  for smaller scale dust events  (200 - 1000 μg/m3 ), especially at the coastal sampling locations, the model substantially over-predicted the air concentrations.  Part of the over-prediction was attributed to the entrainment of dust-free air by the sea breeze, a flow feature not represented by the large-scale gridded  meteorological data fields used in the model computation.  Another part of the over-prediction was the model's strong sensitivity to threshold friction velocity and the surface soil texture coefficient (the soil emission factor), and the difficulty in accurately representing these parameters in the model.  A comparison of the model predicted PM10 spatial pattern with the TOMS satellite aerosol index (AI) yielded a spatial pattern covering a major portion of Saudi Arabia that was quite similar to the observed AI pattern.


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