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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015, Article ID 247531, 12 pages
Research Article

Study of Aerosols’ Characteristics and Dynamics over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Using a Multisensor Approach Combined with Ground Observations

1Department of Prep Year Physics, College of Applied and Supporting Studies, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
2Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, Moharam Beek, Alexandria 21522, Egypt
3Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University, Orange, CA 92866, USA
4Center of Excellence in Earth Systems Modeling and Observations, Chapman University, Orange, CA 92866, USA
5Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Moharam Beek, Alexandria University, Alexandria 21522, Egypt
6Department of Earth Science, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia

Received 25 August 2014; Revised 28 November 2014; Accepted 9 December 2014

Academic Editor: Slobodan Nickovic

Copyright © 2015 Ashraf Farahat et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study covers various aspects of the aerosol distribution and characteristics, namely, optical depth climatology, absorption characteristics, and their microphysical properties over four regions in Saudi Arabia using satellite and ground observations including MODIS/Terra and Aqua, OMI, MISR/Terra, AERONET, and CALIPSO for the period April 2003–January 2013. The study includes cities in the North Western, Western, Eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia and in the Rub al Khali desert or Empty Quarter. Satellite and ground observations showed that the dust season extends from April to August with prominent peaks yet with high anthropogenic contribution late summer and early fall. Analysis shows an increase in the aerosol concentration during March 2009 which could be attributed to a major dust storm during that time. Comparing the AOD time series over regions 1–3 and region 4 (desert) we observe monthly and annual variability with no recurrence pattern over the years. The Aqua Deep Blue AOD550 data shows a single peak pattern that occurs over region 4 during the spring season known for its frequent dust events. OMI data shed the light on the presence of higher air pollution levels over region 3, representing the oil rich eastern province of Saudi Arabia.