The Impact of Dust and Sandstorms in Increasing Drought Areas in Nineveh Province, North-western Iraq

Yahya B. M., Şeker D. Z.

JOURNAL OF ASIAN AND AFRICAN STUDIES, vol.54, no.3, pp.346-359, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0021909618812913
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.346-359
  • Keywords: Drought expansion, GIS, runoff, dust and sandstorms, statistical analysis, PREDICTION, STORMS, MODEL, LAND
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


According to many local and international reports, the risk of dust and sandstorms has increased significantly in Iraq, creating serious environmental and social problems. In this study Nineveh province was selected as the study area to investigate the relationship between the increase in such storms and drought expansion. In the study, storm-feeding regions and a probable storm path were detected using remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS). Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and runoff values were estimated and gathered as supplementary data with rainfall, temperature and storm frequency, where all the data were standardized to make them statistically comparable. Temporal variations analysis and Spearman's rank correlation techniques were applied to summarize the strength relationships between the storm frequency and the entire dataset. Unusual behaviours were noticed and represented by decreasing runoff values and drought conditions fluctuating between moderate to extreme, where these behaviours were accompanied by an abnormal increase in storm frequency. Reasonable negative relationships equalled - 0.78 for rainfall and - 0.61 for runoff, while positive rank correlations equalled + 0.45 for temperature and + 0.16 for SPI. These results indicate a positive relationship between the storm frequency and increased drought areas, where 2.2% of the territory turned to drought and desert areas during the studied period between 1992 and 2017.