Increasing trend of African dust, over 49 years, in the eastern Mediterranean



[1] Dust observations in Israel were carried out since 1958. During 1958–2006, 966 dust days were observed. The dust days have been analyzed through their association with the regional eastern Mediterranean synoptic types, as classified by the Tel Aviv University method. Among the synoptic types, the most contributing were winter lows (with 368 days), Red Sea Troughs (214 days), and highs (211 dust days). Association of dust with highs is a new result, not found in the literature to date. Out of the total occurrences of Sharav lows, 36% are associated with dust, out of total winter lows 13%, with a winter low south to Cyprus having a 30% probability to produce a dust day, and of Red Sea Trough days 6% were associated with dust. Annual occurrence of dust days follows the changes in the occurrence of the regional synoptic systems: the number of dust days associated with Red Sea Troughs has increased by 2.3 d/10 yr, and with highs by 0.9 d/10 yr. The total incidence of dust days has increased with an average rate of 2.7 days per decade. This increasing trend in dust storm occurrence fits with previous results for the eastern Mediterranean and south Europe. Since dust storms are a regional phenomenon and reach south, central, and western Europe, this increase has implications for the entire Mediterranean and European regions. The results show potential for statistical forecasting of dust 1 day in advance. Such forecasts are important for public health warnings and for air transportation.