Analysis of Correlation and Coupling between El Niño-Southern Oscillation and Dust Storms in Iraq from 1971 to 2016

  • Tagreed Ahmed Al-Qadi Department of Geography, College of Arts, University of Baghdad, Iraq
  • Khamis Daham Muslih Department of Geography, College of Arts, University of Baghdad, Iraq
  • Alyaa Gatea Shiltagh Department of Geography, College of Education, Mustansiriyah University, Iraq
Keywords: El Niño-southern oscillation, Tropical pacific ocean, Dust storms, Synoptic patterns, Iraq


This study's main objective is to examine the impact of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation on dust storms in Iraq and trying to find a reasonable synoptic explanation of this relationship. In order to achieve our goal, various data collections related to dust storm days from eight stations in Iraq and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation data over the period 1971–2016 were analyzed. The results showed a negative relationship between dust storms and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. This correlation means high dust storms are associated with La Niña, while the low dust storms occur during the El Niño event. The coupling between the tropical pacific sector and dust storms in Iraq is perhaps related to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation variations and how they can contribute to the change of the main pressure system values that mainly participate in triggering dust storms and their intensity. The subtropical high-pressure and the Indian monsoon low-pressure systems have been recognized as the responsible pressure systems for dust storms formation.