An Israeli haboob: Sea breeze activating local anthropogenic dust sources in the Negev loess

Onn Crouvi*, Uri Dayan, Rivka Amit, Yehouda Enzel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Meso-scale weather systems, such as convective haboobs, are considered to be an important dust generation mechanism. In Israel, however, rather than of meso-scale weather systems, most dust storms are generated by synoptic-scale systems, originating from Sahara and Arabia. Consequently, only distal sources of suspended and deposited dust in Israel are currently reported. Here we report the first detailed study on the merging of synoptic- and meso-scale weather systems leading to a prominent dust outbreak over the Negev, Israel. During the afternoon of May 2nd, 2007, a massive dust storm covered the northern Negev, forming a one kilometer high wall of dust. The haboob was associated with PM10 concentrations of 1000–1500 μg m−3 that advanced at a speed of 10–15 m s−1 and caused temporary closure of local airports. In contrast to most reported haboobs, this one was generated by a sea breeze front acting as a weak cold front enhanced by a cold core cyclone positioned over Libya and Egypt. The sea breeze that brought cold and moist marine air acted as a gravity current with strong surface winds. The sources for the haboob were the loessial soils of the northwestern Negev, especially agricultural fields that were highly disturbed in late spring to early summer. Such surface disturbance is caused by agricultural and/or intensive grazing practices. Our study emphasizes the importance of local dust sources in the Negev and stresses loess recycling as an important process in contemporary dust storms over Israel.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)39-52
Number of pages14
JournalAeolian Research
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


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