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Open AccessArticle

Monitoring Dust Storms in Iraq Using Satellite Data

1
School of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
2
Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(17), 3687; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19173687
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 21 August 2019 / Accepted: 22 August 2019 / Published: 24 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Image Processing and Analysis)
Dust storms can suspend large quantities of sand and cause haze in the boundary layer over local and regional scales. Iraq is one of the countries that is often impacted to a large degree by the occurrences of dust storms. The time between June 29 to July 8, 2009 is considered one of the worst dust storm periods of all times and many Iraq is suffered medical problems as a result. We used data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). MODIS Surface Reflectance Daily L2G Global 1 km and 500 m data were utilized to calculate the Normalized Difference Dust Index (NDDI). The MYD09GA V006 product was used to monitor, map, and assess the development and spread of dust storms over the arid and semi-arid territories of Iraq. We set thresholds for NDDI to distinguish between water and/or ice cloud and ground features and dust storms. In addition; brightness temperature data (TB) from the Aqua /MODIS thermal band 31 were analyzed to distinguish sand on the land surface from atmospheric dust. We used the MODIS level 2 MYD04 deep blue 550 nm Aerosol Option Depth (AOD) data that maintains accuracy even over bright desert surfaces. We found NDDI values lower than 0.05 represent clouds and water bodies, while NDDI greater than 0.18 correspond to dust storm regions. The threshold of TB of 310.5 K was used to distinguish aerosols from the sand on the ground. Approximately 75% of the territory was covered by a dust storm in 5 July 2009 due to strong and dry northwesterly winds. View Full-Text
Keywords: sand and dust storm; MODIS; Aerosol Optical Depth; Iraq; wind speed sand and dust storm; MODIS; Aerosol Optical Depth; Iraq; wind speed
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Albarakat, R.; Lakshmi, V. Monitoring Dust Storms in Iraq Using Satellite Data. Sensors 2019, 19, 3687.

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