عنوان مقاله [English]
Soil moisture is considered to be a key parameter in meteorology, hydrology, and agriculture, and the estimation of its temporal-spatial distribution contributes to understanding the relations between precipitation, evaporation, water cycle, and etc. Soil moisture reduction results in the creation of centers susceptible to dust storms. With socio-economic impacts ranging from urban to intercontinental and from a few minutes to several decades, this can challenge regional development. The first estimate of potential dust sources is derived from the soil properties. With the reduction of surface soil moisture and the wind speedcrossing a certain threshold level, wind erosion process can cause the formation of dust storms. Field studies have proved that increasing the moisture content in soil from zero to about 3%, reduces the dust concentrationsignificantly.
To understand the climatology of dust and develop related numerical predictive methods, continuous recording of dust storms is essential, which requires effective and continuous monitoring of the variations in surface soil moisture. Remote sensing technology is an effective method for calculating soil moisture. This technology was first used for the estimation of energy flux and surface soil moisture in the 1970s. To extract the surface soil moisture content, some remote sensing methods use surface radiation temperature and some others apply water transfer (soil/vegetation/air) (SVAT) model. Various indices have been developed for soil moisture monitoring, such as soil moisture (SM), soil water index (SWI), Temperature-Vegetation-Dryness Index (TVDI), Soil Moisture Index (SMI) and Perpendicular Soil Moisture Index (PSMI), all of which combine vegetation and surface temperature variables.
Materials and Methods
Soil moisture is considered to be a significant parameter in the exchange of mass and energy between the Earth surface and the atmosphere. Lack of soil moisture or decreased moisture in soil is considered to be a factoraccelerating the process of dust storm formation. During the previous decades, water stresses on the ecosystem of Hour-al-Azim have transformed this wetland into one of the main dust centers in the southwest Iran. Hour-al-Azim is one of the largest wetlands in southwestern Iran. This wetland is shared between in Iran and Iraq. It is located between N 30° 58´- N31° 50´ and E 47° 20´- 47° 55´. The Iranian part of this wetland encompassed an area of 64,100 ha in the 1970s, while in the 2000s, the area has decreased to only 29,000 ha.
The present study aims to monitor the spatial-temporal variability of soil moisture in Hour-al-Azim wetland and to investigate the relation between these changes and dust storms in the southwest Iran. To reach this end, we used 8-day images obtained from the Aqua satellite in the period of 2003 to 2017 and also annual frequency of dust storms with a visibility of less than 1000 m in the period of1987–2017.
A database consisting of 189 images of the red band, near-infrared band, and ground surface temperature (LST) was created, which contained 4 images per year (one image per season). The resolution of the red / near-infrared band data and daily LST values were 231.65 and 926.62 meters, respectively. Then, soil adjusted vegetation indices (SAVI) and perpendicular soil moisture index (PSMI) were extracted. SAVI index is used to reduce the effect of background soil on vegetation cover in semi-arid and arid environments with less than 30% vegetation cover.Compared to NDVI, SAVIwith L = 0.5reduces the effect of soil changes on green plants. In the next step, a trapezoidal method was used to calculate the PSMI index. In order to investigate changes in the soil moisture content of the Hour-al-Azim wetland, three time series obtained from regional mean of SAVI, LST and PSMI remote sensing indices and a time series consisting of the number of days with dust storms observed in the 9 stations were evaluated using simple linear regression test.
Results and discussion
Extracting Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index indicated that in the study period, the highest values of this index was observed with a regional mean of 0.15 on 4/7/2014 and the lowest values was observed with a regional mean of 0.08 on 1/1/2005. Land Surface Temperature survey showed that during the study period, the highest values of this index was observed with a regional mean of 54.42 ° C on 7/4/2010 and the lowest values was observed with a regional mean of 17.28 ° C on 1/1/2007. The regional mean of Perpendicular Soil Moisture Index indicates that despite winter is considered to bethe wettest season of the region, PSMI index with a regional mean of 0.2 has experienced the driest soil moisture conditionsat the beginning of winter (1/1/2016),while it had experienced the wettest soil moisture conditionsin the same season on 1/1/2009 with a regionalaverage of 0.13.
Finding of the present study indicate an increasing trend in the range of remote sensing indicators. The range of SAVI index is increasing, which means that the density of vegetation in the Wetland is decreasing. Perpendicular Soil Moisture Index values also show an increasing trend, indicating a decrease in soil moisture content. As a result of the decrease in soil moisture, the vegetation density also has decreased and the land surface temperature has increased. Results of statistical tests indicate the role of changes in environmental conditions of Hour-al-Azim wetland in the frequency of dust storms. Using findings of the present study, or studies such as Kim et al. (2017), it is possible to take advantage of soil moisture variations for the prediction of dust generation, its emission, and spread level.