Dust storm frequencies and strengths were monitored during 2009 at various locations along the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as representative sites of the Arabian Gulf marine environment. The results have been compared with a pre-2009 five-year data set. Mineralogical components of dust samples collected during the 2009 study period were analyzed using both X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) techniques. The comparison of the 2009 and pre-2009 data revealed a shift in the characteristics of dust storms in the Arabian Gulf, which may constitute a sensitive indicator of climate change affecting the region. The range of mineral compositions of the collected dust samples is consistent with temporally and spatially variable dust sources, associated with changing wind patterns over the Arabian Gulf. From a positive perspective, the dust may deliver mineralogical nutrients enhancing microbial productivity in the marine ecosystem. Increasing productivity and liberation of iron from sediments will lead to an increase of Dimethyl Sulfide (DMS) in the atmosphere, which by oxidation will scatter solar radiation effectively with a consequent decrease in global temperature as a climate feedback.
Dust storms over the Arabian Gulf: a possible indicator of climate changes consequences
Waleed Hamza, Mohamed Rizk Enan, Huda Al-Hassini, Jan-Berend Stuut, Dirk de-Beer; Dust storms over the Arabian Gulf: a possible indicator of climate changes consequences. Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management 1 July 2011; 14 (3): 260–268. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14634988.2011.601274
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