In the Media

Pollution Reduction Stirs Dusty Winds of Change

March 24, 2022

The subdued transportation and industrial activity resulting from lockdowns during the pandemic generally reduced global pollution, but also created atmospheric conditions that whipped up unusually high levels of dust across the Arabian Peninsula.


Diana Francis, of Khalifa University of Science and Technology in the United Arab Emirates, was first alerted to this surprising effect while looking at research performed in early 2020 into changes in global emissions and pollution . That data showed clear evidence of reduced carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and oceans, but also indicated that the impact of the lockdowns was not universally positive from an air quality perspective. “I looked at the satellite imagery and saw very active dust emissions, especially over Iraq, Kuwait and northeast Saudi Arabia,” she says. 


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