Iraq and other parts of the Middle East have been hit by a series of severe dust storms since early April 2022.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) explains that sand and dust storms usually occur when strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from bare, dry soils into the atmosphere. “Over the last decade, scientists have come to realize the impacts on climate, human health, the environment and many socio-econimic sectors. WMO Members are at the vanguard in evaluating these impacts and developing products to guide preparedness, adaptation and mitigation policies.”
The Guardian reports Mohammed Mahmoud, the director of the Climate and Water Program at the Middle East Institute, saying that these once-rare occurrence will become more frequent as the climate crisis increases aridity and warms the already dry region. This will alter weather patterns and so create even more storms.
“Just look to the sky. If the visual of dark orange apocalyptic skies isn’t enough, it’s the net impact of these multiple dust storms happening in rapid order,” he said.