Characteristics of Atmospheric Aerosols Over the UAE Inferred From CALIPSO and Sun Photometer Aerosol Optical Depth

Narendra Nelli, Samson Fissehaye, Diana Francis, Ricardo Fonseca, Marouane Temimi, Michael Weston, Rachid Abida, Oleksandr Nesterov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study provides insights on the composition and variability of atmospheric aerosols over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by analyzing the atmospheric conditions together with 14 years (2006–2019) of aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrieved from CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) satellite, and 7 years of AOD measured from the ground-based Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET). We found that mineral dust is the most prevailing aerosol subtype. In addition, polluted dust and polluted continental aerosols are observed mostly in the cold season. The AOD is higher in spring and summer, when the atmospheric conditions are more favorable to the occurrence of dust events. Moreover, there is another peak in winter associated with dust storms triggered by mid-latitude baroclinic systems. In summer’s daytime, extinction coefficients in excess of 0.2 km−1 are observed up to 3–4 km above the surface, as a result of the warmer and windier conditions. In the cold season and at night, the dust layers are confined to the lower atmosphere below 2 km. On a climatological time scale, we found that the AOD over the UAE has been decreasing since 2009, possibly due to the increasing trend in precipitation and changes in land use. This study highlights the large contribution of dust aerosols to the total aerosol load over the UAE and stresses on the need to account for mineral dust aerosols in climate-air pollution related studies as well as weather and air quality forecasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020EA001360
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • aerosol extinction coefficient
  • aerosol optical depth (AOD)
  • dust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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