Aerosol pattern changes over the dead sea from west to east - Using high-resolution satellite data

Lee Sever, Pinhas Alpert, Alexandra Chudnovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The area of the Dead Sea, a terminal lake on the border between Israel and Jordan, has gone through extensive environmental changes in recent decades, stemming from several processes including extreme evaporation and land degradation. Our study explored the distribution and the long-term high-resolution climatology of the Dead Sea aerosols, using satellite-retrieved Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) measurements. We used the Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) algorithm that provides AOD measurements at a 1 km resolution. MAIAC retrievals for the entire study period (2000–2016) have shown a very good agreement (r = 0.8) with the nearby AERONET station. For the first time, the AOD temporal distribution and its variability, on both Dead Sea coasts, were calculated on a monthly/seasonal basis. Three main aerosol pollution patterns (i.e. high-levels of AOD) emerged as follows: western focalized (75 and 59% of the months examined for Aqua and Terra, respectively), eastern focalized (14 and 24%), and similar levels of pollution on both coasts (11 and 17%, respectively). Using the Normalized AOD Difference (NAODD) metric, we studied how the AOD spatial patterns changed and when. Following the negative trends in most of the months, our analysis has demonstrated a shift towards unexplained increasing pollution levels over the Jordanian eastern side. For March–April, this shift had already occurred, and the potential reasons including changes in synoptic regimes are discussed. Local and global implications are of much regional interest because of the Dead Sea deterioration and the need for urgent environmental policy changes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117737
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • Aerosol optical depth (AOD)
  • Aerosol pattern
  • Air pollution
  • The dead sea

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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