Spatial and temporal variations of satellite-derived multi-year particulate data of Saudi Arabia : an exploratory analysis

Aina, Yusuf A. ; Van der Merwe, Johannes H. ; Alshuwaikhat, Habib M. (2014-10)

CITATION: Aina, Y.A., Van der Merwe, J.H. & Alshuwaikhat, H.M. 2014. Spatial and temporal variations of satellite-derived multi-year particulate data of Saudi Arabia: An exploratory analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(11):11152-11166, doi:10.3390/ijerph111111152.

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The effects of concentrations of fine particulate matter on urban populations have been gaining attention because fine particulate matter exposes the urban populace to health risks such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Satellite-derived data, using aerosol optical depth (AOD), have been adopted to improve the monitoring of fine particulate matter. One of such data sources is the global multi-year PM2.5 data (2001–2010) released by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). This paper explores the satellite-derived PM2.5 data of Saudi Arabia to highlight the trend of PM2.5 concentrations. It also examines the changes in PM2.5 concentrations in some urbanized areas of Saudi Arabia. Concentrations in major cities like Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and the industrial cities of Yanbu and Jubail are analyzed using cluster analysis. The health risks due to exposure of the populace are highlighted by using the World Health Organization (WHO) standard and targets. The results show a trend of increasing concentrations of PM2.5 in urban areas. Significant clusters of high values are found in the eastern and south-western part of the country. There is a need to explore this topic using images with higher spatial resolution and validate the data with ground observations to improve the analysis.

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