Modeling Impacts of Dust over Arabian Peninsula and Red Sea on Climate and Ecosystems


In the Arabian Peninsula region, frequent winter storms carry desert dust throughout the Mediterranean area, affecting visibility, health, climate, and ecosystems in water bodies. Using a Weather Research and
Forecasting model with chemistry (WRF-Chem), a team that included a researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory simulated various aspects of dust phenomena over the Arabian Peninsula and Red Sea during a typical winter dust event. They found that the presence of dust particles
in the atmosphere causes a significant reduction in the amount of sunlight reaching the surface during the dust event. They also found that dust aerosols have a significant impact on the energy and nutrient balances of the Red Sea. The (simulated) cooling under the dust plume could have profound effects on both the sea surface
temperature and circulation. The model projected two maximum daily rates that corresponded to two periods with the highest aerosol optical depth captured by ground and satellite observations. The model also projected that the dust plume was thick, extensive, and mixed in a deep boundary layer at an altitude of 3–4 km.
Further analysis of dust generation and its spatial and temporal variability is extremely important for future projections and better understanding of the climate and ecological history of the Red Sea.


Kalenderski, S., G. Stenchikov, and C. Zhao. 2013. “Modeling a Typical Winter-Time Dust Event over the
Arabian Peninsula and the Red Sea,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 13, 1999–2014. DOI: 10.5194/acp-13-1999-2013.