Insights into indoor/outdoor PM concentration ratios due to dust storms in an arid region

Helena Krasnov, Itzhak Katra, Michael D. Friger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dust storms have impacts on both human and physical environments, associated with an increase in atmospheric particulate matter (PM) concentrations. Most studies on exposure to PM have focused on the outdoor air, while information on indoor pollution, is still lacking. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of desert dust events on PM concentrations in indoor environments. A total of over 200 real time measurements of PM were conducted in houses in the Negev Desert during dust storms. Indoor and outdoor PM concentrations were characterized, as well as the relationships between the two datasets. The findings indicated that atmospheric PM10 concentrations can increase from 20-120 μgm-3 on non-dust days to more than 1500 μgm-3 during dust events. Indoor concentrations can reach as high as 1000 μgm-3. The calculated indoor/outdoor (I/O) PM ratio ranged from 0.79 for low-level storms to 0.58 during stronger events. Indoor PM concentrations were found to be dependent on the dust storm intensity (low, medium, high) and duration with a time lag. The information obtained in this study is critical for assessment of policy interventions to reduce exposure risk and health effects due dust storms.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)879-890
Number of pages12
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Arid areas
  • Dust storms
  • Indoor
  • Outdoor
  • PM
  • Spatial distribution

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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