In this study, the influence of an extraordinary Saharan dust episode over Turkey on 23–24 March 2016 and the atmospheric conditions that triggered this event were evaluated in detail. PM10
(particulate matter less than 10 μm) observations from 97 air quality stations, METAR (Meteorological Terminal Aviation Routine Weather Report) observations at 64 airports, atmospheric soundings, and satellite products were used for the analysis. To determine the surface and upper levels of atmospheric circulation, National Centers of Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Reanalysis data were applied to the extreme dust episodes. On 23 March 2016, high southwesterly winds due to the interaction between surface low- and high-pressure centers over Italy and Levant basin brought thick dust particles from Libya to Turkey. The daily PM10
data from 43 stations exceeded their long-term spring means over Turkey (especially at the northern and western stations). As a consequence of the longitudinal movement of the surface low from Italy to the Balkan Peninsula, and the quasi-stationary conditions of the surface high-pressure center allowed for the penetration of strong south and southwesterly winds to inner parts of the country on the following day. As a consequence, 100%, 90%, 88%, and 87% of the monitoring stations in Marmara (NW Turkey), central Anatolia, western (Aegean) and northern (Black Sea) regions of Turkey, respectively, exhibited above-normal daily PM10
values. In addition, while strong subsidence at the low levels of the atmosphere plays a significant role in having excessive daily PM10
values in Black Sea, dry atmospheric conditions and thick inversion level near the ground surface of Marmara ensured this region to have peak PM10
values ~00 Local Time (LT).
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