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Impact of Desert Dust on Air Quality: What is the Meaningfulness of Daily PM Standards in Regions Close to the Sources? The Example of Southern Tunisia

iEES Paris (Institut d’Ecologie et des Sciences de l’Environnement de Paris), UMR IRD 242, Université Paris Est Créteil—Sorbonne Université—CNRS—INRA—Université de Paris, F-93143 Bondy, France
LISA (Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques), UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil—Université de Paris, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, F-94010 Créteil, France
IRA (Institut des Régions Arides) de Médenine, El Fjé 4119, Tunisia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(8), 452;
Received: 21 June 2019 / Revised: 26 July 2019 / Accepted: 29 July 2019 / Published: 6 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Studying the Effects of Dust on Weather, Climate, and Air Pollution)
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Desert dust is now recognized as a major health hazard. However, there still exists a lack of measurements of desert dust atmospheric loads in regions located in the vicinity of the major desert areas, where a growing part of the world population is living. Dust emission is a sporadic and intense phenomenon so that the classical air quality standards should not be appropriate to reflect the real population exposure to desert dust. In order to give some insight to answer this question, PM10 concentrations were continuously measured at a five-minute time step in southern Tunisia from February 2014 to February 2019. The daily and annual PM10 concentrations were first discussed according to the Tunisian air quality standards: In this relatively remote area, close to dust source, these standards were respected at the annual, but no longer at the daily scale. Measurements performed at a high temporal resolution (five minutes) allowed to discriminate the different situations that led to exceed Tunisian daily standards in southern Tunisia. In particular, intense (five-minute PM10 concentrations up to more than 1500 µg m−3) and short-lived (a few hours) dust outbreaks were regularly observed. This result raises the question of the necessity of defining specific air quality standards at the sub-daily scale in countries affected by intense desert dust outbreaks. View Full-Text
Keywords: desert dust; air quality standards; PM10 desert dust; air quality standards; PM10

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Bouet, C.; Labiadh, M.T.; Rajot, J.L.; Bergametti, G.; Marticorena, B.; Henry des Tureaux, T.; Ltifi, M.; Sekrafi, S.; Féron, A. Impact of Desert Dust on Air Quality: What is the Meaningfulness of Daily PM Standards in Regions Close to the Sources? The Example of Southern Tunisia. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 452.

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