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Air pollution in the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman): causes, effects, and aerosol categorization

Abstract

Air pollution over six countries in the Arabian Peninsula (AP), including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, is shown to include particulates, greenhouse gases, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. Distribution of the pollutants is strongly affected by major sandstorms that frequent the AP. Concentration of these pollutants is analyzed. Unprecedented infrastructure activities, overusing governmental subsidized energy, water desalination, heavy traffic in large cities, and cement plants are found to be the main reasons for the pollutants. In 2010, Qatar recorded the highest carbon dioxide (CO2) emission per capita with 40.31 metric tons. The KSA had the lowest CO2 per capita but recorded the highest emission resulting from the cement industry. Bahrain recorded the lowest cement industry emissions. Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) data retrieval over three sites in the AP depicted significant anthropogenic particles mixed with the desert dust over the AP.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge the support provided by KACST for funding this work under grant no. MT-32-76. The support provided by the Deanship of Research at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) is gratefully acknowledged. Analyses and visualizations used in this study were produced with the Giovanni online data system and developed and maintained by the NASA GES DISC. We also acknowledge the MODIS mission scientists and associated NASA personnel for the production of the data used in this research effort. Furthermore, the authors would like also to acknowledge the help of Dr. A. Umran Dogan, University of Iowa, and Dr. Hesham El-Askary, Chapman University, for their support.

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Correspondence to Ashraf Farahat.

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Farahat, A. Air pollution in the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman): causes, effects, and aerosol categorization. Arab J Geosci 9, 196 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-015-2203-y

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Keywords

  • Arabian Peninsula
  • Pollution
  • Aerosols
  • Dust storms
  • AERONET
  • Air quality