Foehn-induced effects on local dust pollution, frontal clouds and solar radiation in the Dead Sea valley

Pavel Kishcha*, Boris Starobinets, Amit Savir, Pinhas Alpert, Michael Kaplan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Despite the long history of investigation of foehn phenomena, there are few studies of the influence of foehn winds on air pollution and none in the Dead Sea valley. For the first time the foehn phenomenon and its effects on local dust pollution, frontal cloudiness and surface solar radiation were analyzed in the Dead Sea valley, as it occurred on 22 March 2013. This was carried out using both numerical simulations and observations. The foehn winds intensified local dust emissions, while the foehn-induced temperature inversion trapped dust particles beneath this inversion. These two factors caused extreme surface dust concentration in the western Dead Sea valley. The dust pollution was transported by west winds eastward, to the central Dead Sea valley, where the speed of these winds sharply decreased. The transported dust was captured by the ascending airflow contributing to the maximum aerosol optical depth (AOD) over the central Dead Sea valley. On the day under study, the maximum surface dust concentration did not coincide with the maximum AOD: this being one of the specific effects of the foehn phenomenon on dust pollution in the Dead Sea valley. Radar data showed a passage of frontal cloudiness through the area of the Dead Sea valley leading to a sharp drop in noon solar radiation. The descending airflow over the downwind side of the Judean Mountains led to the formation of a cloud-free band followed by only the partial recovery of solar radiation because of the extreme dust pollution caused by foehn winds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-309
Number of pages15
JournalMeteorology and Atmospheric Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


FundersFunder number
German Helmholtz Association


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