Unseasonal Dust Storm Attributed to War in Syria
October 14, 2015
The Washington Post — Last month, an unusual and unseasonal dust storm blanketed Israel, parts of the Middle East and extended all the way to Cyprus.
In studying the cause of this strange weather phenomenon, researchers at BGU’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research have come to the conclusion that the culprit may be the tumult in Syria and Iraq. The research team was led by Prof. Arnon Karnieli, who heads the Remote Sensing Laboratory at the Institutes.
“The analysis shows that the storm traveled mostly at ground level, and kicked up new particles that were dragged along,” says Prof Karnieli.
The researchers also found that the particles of dust in the air were larger than anything their instruments had previously recorded in their 20-year existence.
These findings led the researchers to attribute the storm and its intensity to two main factors. The first is a sharp decline in the amount of farm activity in northern Syria, largely caused by removal of dams along the Euphrates River by Turkey. The other factor is the military activity, which has caused harm to the soil crust in Syria.
This dust storm just another sign of the impact of Syria’s hideous, grinding conflict, which is now in its fifth year.