Modeling Earth Systems and Environment

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 203–216 | Cite as

Spatial–temporal analysis of Aerosol Index (AI) distribution and some climatic factors: case study from Iraq, 1980–2015

  • Ali A. AttiyaEmail author
  • Brian G. Jones
  • Samuel Marx
Original Article


Aerosol particles represent fine particulate matter suspended in the air. These particles interact with the climate conditions (indirectly) and the radiation balance (directly) of the Earth. Iraq represents one of the aerosol hot spots in southwest Asia because of repeated dust storms that need further in-depth studies to describe and understand the dust activity. This research assesses the spatiotemporal pattern variability of the aerosol index values obtained from TOMS—OMI satellite platforms and compares it with selected surface weather factors to describe the dust phenomena over Iraq during 1980–2015. The results show a significant monthly and seasonal variability of aerosol index AI distributions between the northern and southern regions of Iraq. The monthly average AI data display maximum values during the hot summer months and minimum values in the cold winter months over the study regions. Maximum AI values occur above the southern area during March–October, reducing gradually towards the north, whereas the minimum values are recorded between December and February. The highest values of AI distribution from the TOMS satellite were 2.06, 1.93, and 1.87 and for the OMI sensor were 2.32, 2.27 and 2.24 in June above the northern, central and south regions, respectively, with lower values in December. The correlation between aerosol index and relative humidity, air temperatures, wind velocity and rainfall can be employed effectively to estimate and predict dust activity. This study can enhance awareness and understanding of atmospheric dust activity over Iraq and the Middle East region.


Aerosol index distribution TOMS and OMI satellites Humidity Temperature Wind velocity Rainfall 



The researchers are thankful to NASA agency for providing Aerosol Index data (, and the Bureau of Meteorology in Iraq for supplying weather data.


  1. Abahussain AA, Abdu AS, Al-Zubari WK, El-Deen NA, Abdul-Raheem M (2002) Desertification in the Arab region: analysis of current status and trends. J Arid Environ 51:521–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abbot DS, Halevy I (2010) Dust aerosol important for Snowball Earth deglaciation. J Clim 23:4121–4132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ardehjani S (2012) IR of Iran National Report on Regional Action Plan to combat dust and sand storm. International Cooperative for Aerosol Prediction (ICAP) 4th Workshop: Aerosol Emission and Removal Processes, 2012, pp 14–17Google Scholar
  4. Chiapello I, Prospero J, Herman J, Hsu N (1999) Detection of mineral dust over the North Atlantic Ocean and Africa with the Nimbus 7 TOMS. J Geophys Res Atmos 104:9277–9291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chudnovsky AA, Koutrakis P, Kostinski A, Proctor SP, Garshick E (2017) Spatial and temporal variability in desert dust and anthropogenic pollution in Iraq, 1997–2010. J Air Waste Manag Assoc 67:17–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Engelstaedter S, Tegen I, Washington R (2006) North African dust emissions and transport. Earth Sci Rev 79:73–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ginoux P, Chin M, Tegen I, Prospero JM, Holben B, Dubovik O, Lin SJ (2001) Sources and distributions of dust aerosols simulated with the GOCART model. J Geophys Res Atmos 106:20255–20273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Habib G, Venkataraman C, Chiapello I, Ramachandran S, Boucher O, Reddy MS (2006) Seasonal and interannual variability in absorbing aerosols over India derived from TOMS: relationship to regional meteorology and emissions. Atmos Environ 40:1909–1921CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Joos F, Prentice IC, Sitch S, Meyer R, Hooss G, Plattner GK, Gerber S, Hasselmann K (2001) Global warming feedbacks on terrestrial carbon uptake under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission scenarios. Global Biogeochem Cycles 15:891–907CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kaskaoutis D, Kambezidis H, Nastos P, Kosmopoulos P (2008) Study on an intense dust storm over Greece. Atmos Environ 42:6884–6896CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kaskaoutis D, Nastos P, Kosmopoulos P, Kambezidis H, Kharol SK, Badarinath K (2010) The Aura–OMI Aerosol Index distribution over Greece. Atmos Res 98:28–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kim S-W, Yoon S-C, Kim J (2008) Columnar Asian dust particle properties observed by sun/sky radiometers from 2000 to 2006 in Korea. Atmos Environ 42:492–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mahowald NM, Kloster S, Engelstaedter S, Moore JK, Mukhopadhyay S, McConnell JR, Albani S, Doney SC, Bhattacharya A, Curran M (2010) Observed 20th century desert dust variability: impact on climate and biogeochemistry. Atmos Chem Phys 10:10875–10893CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Tariq S, Ali M (2015) Spatio–temporal distribution of absorbing aerosols over Pakistan retrieved from OMI onoard Aura satellite. Atmos Pollut Res 6:254–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. WMO (2013) Establishing a WMO sand and dust storm warning advisory and assessment system regional node for West Asia: current capabilities and needs. WMO Technical Report, 1121Google Scholar
  16. Yu Y, Notaro M, Kalashnikova OV, Garay MJ (2016) Climatology of summer Shamal wind in the Middle East. J Geophys Res Atmos 121:289–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Atmospheric Science Department, Science FacultyAl-Mustansiriya UniversityBaghdadIraq
  2. 2.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

Personalised recommendations