Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict

In August 2015, a dust storm blanketed large areas of seven Middle East nations in a haze of dust and sand thick enough to obscure them from satellite view. At the time, the storm’s unusual severity was attributed to the ongoing civil war in Syria.  Now, a team of researchers including Elie Bou-Zeid, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton has found that it was caused not by human conflict, but a combination of climatic factors and unusual weather.