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Spatial and temporal patterns of dust inputs in the eastern Mediterranean region (focus: Crete) and their composition and impact on recent soil formation processes


Institute of Geographical Sciences, Physical Geography • Institute of Meteorology, Remote sensing


Research Commission FU Berlin

Simon Bitzan, M.Sc. • Dr. Fabian Kirsten
+49 30 838 60 051 • +49 30 838 71 229

The Sahara is the world's largest dust source and dust distributed globally via atmospheric
circulation patterns affects many parts of the world. Due to the geographical proximity, the
Mediterranean region is an area of general interest. While the western part is already well studied in
terms of provenances, trajectories and geochemical signature of the dust, there are still significant
research gaps in the eastern Mediterranean. There, the Greek island Crete provides a favourable
natural research environment for studying the impact of Saharan dust deposition to close some of
the research gaps within the presented project.
In the framework of the project, we will combine meteorological and physical-geographical
methods in order to achieve a holistic view on these processes determining transport of Saharan
dust towards the eastern Mediterranean an eventual deposition. Based on satellite and reanalysis
data, seasonal and event-specific source and deposition areas will be detected depending on the
morphology of Crete. Passive dust samplers will be used to get additional information on the spatial
distribution of dust deposition across Crete. The subsequent sedimentological and geochemical
analyses enable on the one hand an exact assignment to source areas and on the other hand the
detection of the geochemical signature of the dust, which allows for an analysis of the influence on
recent soil formation processes. The new insights into the sedimentation dynamics and their
influence on soil formation gained will lead to a better understanding of past and future landscape
dynamics and the meteorological results serve a better understanding and prediction of radiation
budget, energy budget as well as cloud formation and precipitation events.