Tim Radford – Climate change caused Middle East dust storm

LONDON, 24 January, 2017 A storm of dust so fierce that it obscured seven Middle Eastern nations from satellite observation has been blamed on climate change.

In August and part of September 2015, a wall of dust driven by a cyclone cloaked parts of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. Flights were cancelled, there were a number of deaths, and thousands of cases of respiratory illness and injuries. Reports initially blamed the episode on the conflict in Syria.

But, according to a new study in Environmental Research Letters, the gusts of dust could be more reasonably attributed to a mix of unusual weather conditions exacerbated by changing climate.

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